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rafrM^ 

University  of  California  •  Berkeley 


. 


All  uses  of  this  manuscript  are  covered  by  a  legal 
agreement  between  the  Regents  of  the  University  of  California 
and  Brother  Timothy,  dated  5  March,  1974.  The  manuscript  is 
thereby  made  available  for  research  purposes.  All  literary 
rights  in  the  manuscript,  including  the  right  to  publish,  are 
reserved  to  The  Bancroft  Library  of  the  University  of  California 
at  Berkeley.   No  part  of  the  manuscript  may  be  quoted  for 
publication  without  the  written  permission  of  the  Director  of 
The  Bancroft  Library  of  the  University  of  California  at  Berkeley. 

Requests  for  permission  to  quote  for  publication  should  be 
addressed  to  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office,  486  Library,  and 
should  include  identification  of  the  specific  passages  to  be 
quoted,  anticipated  use  of  the  passages,  and  identification  of 
the  user.  The  legal  agreement  with  Brother  Timothy  requires 
that  he  be  notified  of  the  request  and  allowed  thirty  days  in 
which  to  respond. 


The  Bancroft  Library  University  of  California/Berkeley 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 


California  Wine  Industry  Oral  History  Project 


Brother  Timothy 
THE  CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS  AS  WINEMAKERS 


With  an  Introduction  by 
Maynard  A.  Amerine 


An  Interview  Conducted  by 
Ruth  Teiser 


1975  by  The  Regents  of  the  University  of  California 


Brother  Timothy 

Being  interviewed  at  Mont  La  Salle, 
by  Catherine  Harroun. 


Photograph 


TABLE  OF  CONTENTS  --  Brother  Timothy 

PREFACE  i 

INTRODUCTION  by  Maynard  A.  Amerine  ill 

INTERVIEW  HISTORY  v 

THE  CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS  1 

THE  BEGINNING  OF  WINE  MAKING  AT  MARTINEZ  4 

THE  MOVE  TO  MONT  LA  SALLE  10 

THE  BOYHOOD  OF  ANTHONY  GEORGE  DIENER  15 

BROTHER  TIMOTHY'S  EARLY  YEARS  IN  THE  ORDER  18 

THE  MONT  LA  SALLE  WINERY  22 

BROTHER  JOHN  AND  ALFRED  FROMM  25 

EARLY  HISTORY  OF  THE  MONT  LA  SALLE  PROPERTY  28 

WINE -MAKING  TECHNOLOGY  IN  THE  POST -REPEAL  PERIOD  33 

ALFRED  FROMM  AND  MARKET  EXPANSION  38 

CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS  BRANDY  41 

EXPANDING  FACILITIES  44 

THE  ACQUISITION  OF  THE  MOUNT  TIVY  WINERY  45 

GREYSTONE  CELLARS  50 

THEODORE  GIER'S  ALBUM  57 

CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS  CHAMPAGNE  66 

CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS  WINES  AND  VINEYARDS  69 

OTHER  RELIGIOUS  ORGANIZATIONS  THAT  MAKE  WINE  73 


THE  CALIFORNIA  WINE  INDUSTRY  74 

GRACE  AND  THANKSGIVING  PRAYERS  77 

THE  SOUTH  ST.  HELENA  COMPLEX  79 

WINERY  SIZE  AND  WINE  QUALITY  84 

GRAPE  AND  WINE  PRICES  SINCE  1961  87 

CORKS  AND  CAPS  91 

CORKSCREWS  94 

THE  WINE  MUSEUM  102 

APPENDIX  I     The  History  of  the  Christian  Brothers  105 
Wineries  in  California 

APPENDIX  II    History  of  Greystone  122 

APPENDIX  III   The  Christian  Brothers  Wine  and  Champagne  Cellars  123 

APPENDIX  IV    The  Napa  Valley  131 

APPENDIX  V     Harvest  Luncheon  135 

INDEX  137 
(For  Wines  and  Grapes  see  page  142) 


PREFACE 

• 

The  California  Wine  Industry  Oral  History  Series,  a 
project  of  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office,  was  initiated 
in  1969,  the  year  noted  as  the  bicentenary  of  continuous 
wine  making  in  this  state.  It  was  undertaken  through  the 
action  and  with  the  financing  of  the  Wine  Advisory  Board, 
and  under  the  direction  of  University  of  California  faculty 
and  staff  advisors  at  Berkeley  and  Davis. 

The  purpose  of  the  series  is  to  record  and  preserve 
information  on  California  grape  growing  and  wine  making  that 
has  existed  only  in  the  memories  of  wine  men.  In  some  cases 
their  recollections  go  back  to  the  early  years  of  this 
century,  before  Prohibition.  These  recollections  are  of 
particular  value  because  the  Prohibition  period  saw  the 
disruption  of  not  only  the  industry  itself  but  also  the 
orderly  recording  and  preservation  of  records  of  its 
activities.  Little  has  been  written  about  the  industry  from 
late  in  the  last  century  until  Repeal.  There  is  a  real 
paucity  of  information  on  the  Prohibition  years  (1920-1933), 
although  some  wine  making  did  continue  under  supervision  of 
the  Prohibition  Department.  The  material  in  this  series  on 
that  period,  as  well  as  the  discussion  of  the  remarkable 
development  of  the  wine  industry  in  subsequent  years  (as 
yet  treated  analytically  in  few  writings)  will  be  of  aid  to 
historians.   Of  particular  value  is  the  fact  that  frequently 
several  Individuals  have  discussed  the  same  subjects  and 
events  or  expressed  opinions  on  the  same  ideas,  each  from 
his  own  point  of  view. 

Research  underlying  the  interviews  has  been  conducted 
principally  in  the  University  libraries  at  Berkeley  and 
Davis, "the  California  State  Library,  and  in  the  library  of 
the  Wine  Institute,  which  has  made  its  collection  of  in 
many  cases  unique  materials  readily  available  for  the 
purpose. 

Three  master  indices  for  the  entire  series  are  being 
prepared,  one  of  general  subjects,  one  of  wines,  one  of 
grapes  by  variety.   These  will  be  available  to  researchers 
at  the  conclusion  of  the  series  in  the  Regional  Oral  History 
Office  and  at  the  library  of  the  Wine  Institute. 


11 


The  Regional  Oral  History  Office  was  established  to 
tape  record  autobiographical  Interviews  with  persons  who 
have  contributed  significantly  to  recent  California  history. 
The  office  is  headed  by  Willa  K.  Baum  and  is  under  the 
administrative  supervision  of  James  D.  Hart,  the  Director 
of  The  Bancroft  Library. 


Buth  Teiser 
Project  Director 
California  Wine  Industry 
Oral  History  Series 


1  March  1971 

Regional  Oral  History  Office 
*f86  The  Bancroft  Library 
University  of  California,  Berkeley 


ill 


INTRODUCTION 


The  Brothers  of  the  Christian  Schools  congregation  was  originally  and 
still  exists  as  a  teaching  order.   Brother  Timothy  makes  clear  that  the 
present  large  wine  and  brandy  business  is  carried  on  to  support  the  teaching. 

The  Christian  Brothers  started  their  novitiate  in  Martinez  in  1879. 
Some  time  later,  possibly  in  1882,  they  began  to  sell  wine  and  have 
continued  to  do  so  ever  since,  including  during  Prohibition.   In  1932  they 
moved  their  winery  equipment  and  wines  to  their  present  winery  near  Napa. 
Their  winery  operations  are  conducted  as  a  regularly  commercial  winery 
under  the  name  Mont  La  Salle  Vineyards.   The  profits  from  their  operation, 
after  taxes,  etc.,  goes  to  the  non-profit  corporation,  De  La  Salle  Institute, 
which  operates  the  Christian  Brothers  schools  and  educational  work. 

But,  and  justifiably  so,  this  is  the  story  of  Brother  Timothy  (George 
Diener) ,  his  fellow  brothers,  and  the  operation  of  their  wineries  since 
1935.  To  a  certain  extent  it  is  the  story  of  the  devoted  service  of  three 
men,  Brothers  Gregory,  John,  and  Timothy. 

Although  he  acknowledges  the  contributions  of  Fromm  and  Sichel  it  is 
obvious  that  the  brothers  themselves  had  a  clear  picture  of  the  type  of 
company  which  they  wished  to  build--a  Napa  Valley  oriented  table  wine 
industry,  and  a  San  Joaquin  Valley  oriented  dessert  wine  and  brandy 
production.  He  gives  us  a  clear  picture  of  why  they  produce  certain  types 
of  wine  (and  how),  of  their  blending  concept,  and  why  they  use  corks  instead 
of  screw  caps  as  closures.  There  is  even  a  section  on  his  corkscrew 
collection,  memories  of  James  P.  Howe  and  some  "graces"  that  he  has  given. 
All  in  all  a  modest  but  revealing  portrait  of  a  devout  man  and  his  work. 
The  one  thing  he  should  have  told  us  was  how  hard  he  worked  to  make  it  go. 

Brother  Timothy  gives  credit  to  Brother  John  for  the  large  scale 
expansion  of  their  winery  operations.  Anyone  who  met  Brother  John  will 
recognize  that  his  tribute  to  his  colleague's  energy  and  ambition  for  the 
order  is  completely  deserved.   Brother  John  was  the  early  dynamo  behind 
their  progress. 

Brother  Timothy  also  pays  a  graceful  tribute  to  the  influence  of  the 
research  and  teaching  of  the  University  of  California.  He  indicates  that 
ten  or  twelve  members  of  their  present  technical  staff  were  trained  at  the 
University  of  California  or  at  Fresno  State  University. 


Iv 


An  important  part  of  the  story  of  Christian  Brothers  wines  is  their 
contract  with  Fromm  and  Sichel,  who  since  1938  have  merchandised  their 
wines  and  brandies  in  forty-eight  of  the  fifty  states.   Brother  Timothy 
notes  that  their  altar  wine  business  is  still  conducted  directly  from  the 
winery.  He  credits  Alfred  Fromm  with  the  suggestion  that  they  produce 
commercial  brandy.  He  notes  that  it  has  always  been  a  slightly  sweet 
flavored  brandy,  but  that  in  recent  years  lighter  in  flavor  than  at  the 
start. 

From  1940  to  date  Christian  Brothers  have  continuously  expanded  their 
operations  at  Napa,  north  and  south  of  St.  Helena  and  at  Reedley  and  Fresno 
in  the  San  Joaquin  Valley. 

Brother  Timothy  modestly  underplays  his  own  very  considerable  part  in 
this  growth.  Nevertheless,  he  was  an  innovative  designer  of  equipment  and 
processes  for  more  efficient  operations.  Few  if  any  of  the  many  techno 
logical  advances  pioneered  at  their  wineries  did  not  have  the  assistance 
of  Brother  Timothy  and,  of  course,  none  were  made  without  his  approval. 

Brother  Timothy  is  interested  in  the  history  of  the  vineyards  and 
properties  that  Christian  Brothers  operate,  especially  in  Theodore  Gier  at 
Napa.  However  interesting  this  may  be  historically  it  is  not  important. 
What  is  important  is  what  Brother  Timothy  and  his  co-workers  have  made  of 
those  properties  on  their  own.   They  have  created  them  by  themselves  with 
very  little  assistance  from  history  and  they,  not  history,  deserve  the 
credit. 


Maynard  A.  Amerine 
Professor,  Viticulture  and 
Enology 


21  January  1975 

101  Wickson  Hall 

University  of  California  at  Davis 


INTERVIEW  HISTORY 


Brother  Timothy,  F.S.C.,  was  born  Anthony  George  Diener  in  New  Jersey 
in  1910,  the  son  of  German-American  parents.  His  family  moved  to  Southern 
California  when  he  was  young,  and  he  received  his  early  education  there 
and  at  the  Christian  Brothers  high  school  in  Oakland.   In  1928  he  joined 
the  Christian  Brothers  order  and  later  attended  St.  Mary's  College, 
majoring  in  science.   In  1931  he  started  teaching  in  the  order's  high 
schools  in  Northern  California. 

He  had  not  been  associated  with  the  winery,  although  he  had  known  of 
it  and  seen  it  during  his  novitiate  at  Martinez,  and  he  had  helped  move  it 
to  Mont  La  Salle  in  1931.  Not  until  1935  did  he  take  an  active  part  in 
the  Christian  Brothers  wine  making  operations.  That  year  he  became  winery 
chemist,  then  later  added  the  duty  of  supervising  the  vineyards,  then  still 
later  became  supervisor  of  the  winery  and  vice  president  of  the  winery 
corporation. 

In  this  interview  he  reviewed  briefly  the  history  of  the  Christian 
Brothers,  then  at  greater  length  the  history  of  the  order  in  California, 
then  in  detail  the  history  of  its  wine  making  operations  in  this  state. 
He  also  discussed  many  aspects  of  the  California  wine  industry  as  a  whole, 
including  recent  economic  trends. 

Brother  Timothy  speaks  with  serious  regard  for  facts  both  large  and 
small,  and  with  care  (perhaps  learned  during  his  days  as  a  teacher)  that 
what  he  says  will  be  clearly  understood.  This  conscientiousness,  together 
with  his  personal  cordiality,  made  the  interviewing  a  light  task  and  a 
pleasant  experience. 

All  of  the  interviews  took  place  in  the  offices  of  the  Mont  La  Salle 
winery  near  Napa,  the  initial  series  on  August  12,  16,  and  18,  1971.  The 
transcript  of  those  interview  sessions  was  sent  to  him  to  read  over  in 
January,  1973,  and  a  final  session  took  place  on  May  15,  1973.  The  entire 
text,  slightly  edited  by  the  interviewer  to  eliminate  some  repetitions 
and  clarify  a  few  points,  was  sent  to  Brother  Timothy  on  February  1,  1974. 

Between  the  interview  sessions,  Brother  Timothy  had  looked  up  material 
relating  to  the  discussions.   (Some  of  it  is  included  in  the  appendices.) 
He  edited  the  entire  transcript  with  great  care,  changed  a  few  words  and 
added  amplifying  material.  All  final  corrections  were  completed  by  July 
31,  1974. 


Ruth  Teiser 
Interviewer 


21  January  1975 
Regional  Oral  History  Office 
486  The  Bancroft  Library 
University  of  California/Berkeley 


(Interview  #1,  August  12,  1971) 


THE  CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS 


Teiser:   Would  you  care  to  start  with  the  history  of  the  Christian  Brothers 
order? 

Brother   Our  order  is  a  religious  order,  the  fourth  largest  in  the  Catholic 
Timothy:   Church.   The  Jesuit  order  is  in  the  number  one  position,  the 

Franciscan  second,  the  Salesians  are  third.  We  have  more  than 
15,000  Christian  Brothers  throughout  the  world  conducting  schools 
for  boys.* 

Our  order  was  founded  in  France  in  1680  by  Jean  Baptiste  de  la 
Salle.  He  was  a  French  priest  and  his  canonization  took  place  in 
the  year  1900,  so  he  has  been  called  St.  Jean  Baptiste  de  la  Salle 
since  that  time.  Our  first  Mother  House  was,  of  course,  in  France, 
and  then  later  it  was  moved  to  Belgium,  and  then  later  on  to  Rome. 
I  think  it  was  in  1934  that  our  Mother  House  was  situated  for  the 
first  time  in  Rome.   So  our  Mother  House  is  there  in  Rome  now  at  the 
present  time.   The  Superior  General  in  charge  of  all  the  Brothers 
throughout  the  world  has  his  office  there. 

It  happens  that  we  have  an  American  Superior  now,  Brother 
Charles  Henry.  This  Brother  Charles  Henry  was  born  in  Massachusetts 
and  spent  a  lot  of  his  time  in  New  York.   He's  well  known  to  us 
and  we  are  well  known  to  him  as  he  has  visited  here  in  California 
a  number  of  times.   He's  the  first  American  to  be  Superior  General. 
Most  of  our  Superior  Generals  for  the  approximately  290  year  history 
of  the  order  have  been  French. 

They  used  to  be  elected  for  life  and  now,  however,  it's  more 
or  less  a  ten-year  span.  Then  the  man  may  resign  and  a  new  man 
be  elected  at  that  time,  or  he  may  be  re-elected  for  another  term 
of  office. 


*Recently  girls  as  well.   See  p.  2. 


Timothy: 


Teiser: 
Timothy: 


You  may  gather  from  what  I  have  said  so  far  that  the  order 
was  founded  specifically  for  educational  purposes,  and  this  is 
right.   Our  founder  was  struck  by  the  difficulty  of  the  young 
people  of  his  time  in  developing  into  what  you  might  call  good 
citizens.   They  were  pretty  much  neglected,  and  apparently  little 
kids  were  running  the  streets  of  France  290  years  ago  with 
practically  no  education.   They  learned  all  the  things  that  kids 
learn  in  the  alleyways  and  all  that  kind  of  thing.  They  were, 
let's  say,  incapable  for  lack  of  education  of  doing  any  kind  of 
work  other  than  the  menial  jobs.  There  was  really  no  educational 
system  that  was  general  throughout  France  for  children  of  grammar 
school  age.  People  that  were  wealthy  had  tutors  to  take  care  of 
their  children  and  teach  them  something.   But  the  children  of  what 
were  called  the  artisans  and  poor  were  neglected  unless  some 
parish  priest  would  set  up  some  kind  of  a  little  parish  school. 
But  this  was  pretty  much  on  his  volition;  either  he  did  it  or  he 
didn't. 

So  there  wasn't  any  general  education  system  that  was 
available  to  all.  Our  founder  then  started  up  what  was  almost 
a  public  school  system.   Brothers  were  trained  and  opened  up 
schools  throughout  France.   They  depended  on  charity,  as  our 
Brothers  always  have  worked  without  salary. 


So  from  that  start  our  order 
France  and  later  into  other  parts 
country  that  our  order  spread  to 
was  Italy.  Our  founder  made  sure 
to  Rome  to  be  near  the  center  of 
the  Pope.   So  that  when  the  order 
say,  unrecognized,  that  it  would 
a  Brother  or  two  in  Rome. 


developed  and  spread  through 

of  the  world.   The  only  other 
in  the  lifetime  of  our  founder 

to  send  one  or  two  Brothers 
the  Catholic  Church,  to  be  near 

was  a  very  small  thing,  let's 
gain  some  recognition  by  having 


The  order  has  been  engaged  in  educational  work  for  boys 
throughout  the  history  of  the  order,  and  it's  been  only  in  the 
last  couple  of  years  that  any  girls  have  been  allowed  in  our 
schools.  That's  just  one  of  those  little  things  that  happens  to 
be  a  fact  of  life  in  the  way  our  order  started  and  in  the  way  it 
has  just  recently  begun  to  change  a  little  bit. 

You're  speaking  of  admitting  women  to  St.  Mary's? 

Yes.  There  are  some  coeds  at  St.  Mary's  College  now.   I  understand 
the  enrollments  are  going  very  well  for  the  upcoming  fall  semester. 


Timothy:       Now  the  Christian  Brothers  came  to  the  United  States--! 
guess  I  may  make  that  jump  from  the  Old  World  over  to  this 
country- -we  came  to  the  United  States  in  1845  for  the  first 
time.  We  started  a  school  in  Baltimore  and  then  spread  from 
there  throughout  this  country.  The  Brothers  came  to  California, 
San  Francisco  specifically,  in  1868  and  took  over  St.  Mary's 
College  which  had  been  founded  five  years  before  and  had  been 
operated  by  members  of  the  clergy.   Priests  were  the  teachers, 
and  the  Brothers  were  brought  in  only  at  this  later  date,  five 
years  after  the  college  had  been  founded  by  Archbishop  [Joseph 
Sadoc]  Alemany.   Perhaps  he  was  just  Bishop  Alemany.   I  don't 
know  if  an  archbishopric  had  been  founded  yet  in  San  Francisco.* 

He  got  the  Brothers  to  come  to  California  to  take  over  St. 
Mary's  College.   It  was  out  on  Mission  Road  in  San  Francisco  at 
that  time.  The  Brothers,  I  believe  about  eight  in  number,  came 
around  by  water.   They  came  to  Panama  and  then  I  understand  that 
they  transferred  to  a  little  train  that  ran  across  the  Isthmus 
of  Panama,  and  they  got  onto  a  different  ship  on  the  west  coast 
and  then  came  up  the  west  coast  to  San  Francisco. 

The  Brothers  in  St.  Mary's  College  managed  to  get  along  all 
right.   They  had  many  difficult  years  with  finances.  With  the 
growth  of  the  college,  they  moved  to  Oakland.  They  had  a  major 
fire  on  the  top  floor  of  that  building  at  one  time  and  then  at  a 
later  date,  in  1928,  they  built  St.  Mary's  College  where  it  is 
now, near  Moraga. 

Well,  the  Christian  Brothers,  with  their  first  school  in 
California  being  St.  Mary's  College,  shortly  began  to  open  up 
some  other  schools  in  various  parts  of  the  Bay  Area  and  up  and 
down  the  coast.  Then,  after  having  been  in  California  for  eleven 
years,  the  Brothers  bought  property  at  Martinez  in  1879  and  built 
a  novitiate  there.   That  novitiate  operated  there  until  1932. 

Teiser:   Was  this  the  first  training  installation  for  your  own  people? 

Timothy:  No,  there  was  some  other  preliminary  novitiate  set  up  in  one  of 
the  Brothers'  schools  in  the  Oakland  area,  but  it  was  kind  of 
temporary.  When  they  bought  property  at  Martinez  in  1879,  it 
was  bought  specifically  as  a  novitiate  site.  Then  a  novitiate 
was  built  there. 


*In  1853  two  dioceses  were  created  in  California,  and  Bishop 
Alemany  then  became  archbishop  of  the  northern  one. 


THE  BEGINNING  OF  WINE  MAKING  AT  MARTINEZ 


Timothy:   It  happens  that  at  this  site  there  were  twelve  acres  of  grapes 

on  the  grounds,  and  one  of  the  Brothers,  either  in  1879  or  shortly 
thereafter,  decided  to  see  that  those  grapes  didn't  spoil,  and 
so  the  story  we  have  heard  from  several  old  Brothers  (and  one 
of  them  gave  it  to  us  in  writing)  was  that  a  Brother  Cecilian 
took  an  old  water  trough  that  had  been  used  for  watering  horses 
(and  if  so  I  hope  he  scrubbed  it  out)  [laughter]  and  put  the 
grapes  in  it  and  used  a  big  wooden  club  to  crush  the  grapes. 
Then,  of  course,  drain  off  the  juice,  collect  the  juice,  and 
ferment  it  separately. 

Some  boys  in  the  neighborhood  who  watched  them  work  with 
this  big  wooden  club  nicknamed  the  club  "the  mule's  leg." 
[Laughter]   So  this  club  was  quite  like  a  branch  of  a  tree  that 
looked  like  the  leg  of  a  mule. 

Now,  a  Brother  who  is  still  living  on  this  property,  Brother 
Basil,  knew  this  Brother  Cecilian,  who  died  in  1917,  and  Brother 
Basil  says  that  Brother  Cecilian  went  down  to  the  hardware  store 
and  bought  a  new  wooden  trough.   So  he  did  not  use  the  old  trough 
that  had  been  used  for  watering  the  horses,  according  to  Brother 
Basil's  version  of  the  story.   [Laughter] 

Teiser:   Was  Brother  Cecilian  from  Europe? 

Timothy:   This  Brother  Cecilian  happened  to  be  from  Ireland. 

Teiser:   So  he  didn't  know  how  to  make  wine.1 

Timothy:   So  I  don't  know  if  he  really  knew  how  to  make  wine,  but  of  course 
I've  never  seen  a  sample  of  that  wine  that  he  made  at  that  time. 
I'm  sure  it  was  not  near  as  good  as  the  kind  of  wine  that  is 
being  made  in  California  today. 

This  Brother  Cecilian  was  supervised  by  Brother  Victorick, 
and  there  was  also  a  Brother  Azarie.  One  of  these  other  gentlemen 
might  have  been  the  brains  behind  the  job.   Brother  Cecilian  might 
have  been  just  the  fellow  that  handled  the  big  wooden  club.  We 
haven't  got  that  clear  as  to  whether  this  Brother  Cecilian  was 
really  capable  of  making  wine  on  his  own  or  whether  he  took 
instructions  from  Brother  Victorick  or  Brother  Azarie. 


Timothy:       Now,  since  I've  mentioned  Martinez  and  we're  right  in  the 
middle  of  this  discussion  of  how  the  wine  was  first  made  by  the 
Brothers  there,  I  might  say  that  Justin  Meyer  has  written  up  a 
history  of  the  operations  of  the  Christian  Brothers'  winery  and 
he  researched  things  quite  well.* 

In  this  research  that  Justin  Meyer  did,  in  attempting  to  find 
out  whether  1879  was  the  year  that  this  Brother  Cecilian  crushed 
those  first  grapes  at  Martinez  or  whether  it  might  have  been  1880 
or  1881  or  1882--in  the  research  done,  we  have  found  out  that 
1882  was  the  date  of  incorporation  of  De  La  Salle  Institute.  We 
have,  I  think,  the  old  original  certificate  of  incorporation. 

Teiser :   I  see. 

Timothy:  Our  De  La  Salle  Institute  was  founded  at  that  time,  and  made  a 

State  of  California  corporation,  registered  in  the  State  records 
in  1882. 

Teiser:   What  was  the  purpose  of  its  incorporation? 

Timothy:  Well,  the  purpose  of  incorporation  was  just  to  have  a  legal  entity 
to  operate  the  Martinez  property,  the  novitiate,  the  so-called 
farms  that  included  these  grapes  and  the  winery.  And  some  dairy 
cows  were  on  the  property  and  one  thing  and  the  other.  Just  to 
be  incorporated  and,  you  know,  have  a  legal  right  to  your  own 
name  or  something  like  that,  I  guess. 

Teiser:   Carry  on  business,  I  suppose. 

Timothy:  Yes,  to  carry  on  business.  Although  in  studying  that  old 

certificate,  the  word  wine  or  the  word  grapes  doesn't  appear  on 
it  as  far  as  I  can  recall. 

Then  in  another  one  of  these  little  areas  of  research  Justin 
Meyer  found  a  sheet  of  paper  all  typed  out  purporting  to  give  a 
kind  of  summary  of  the  history  of  the  Brothers'  winery  operations 
at  Martinez.  This  was  unsigned.   It  had  some  initials  at  the 
bottom  but  we  never  have  been  able  to  figure  out  whose  initials 
they  were.   It  mentioned  that  the  Brothers  started  in  the  wine 
business  in  1891  in  Martinez. 


*Appendix  I.   Justin  Meyer  was  formerly  Brother  Justin. 


Timothy:       However,  in  other  work  done  by  Justin  Meyer  he  uncovered  some 
other  notes  saying  that  the  first  crusher  for  crushing  grapes  at 
the  winery  was  bought  in  1887.   So  you  would  hardly  buy  that  first 
crusher  for  commercially  crushing  grapes  before  you  began  to  be 
in  the  wine  business,  you  know.  We  have  assumed  that  perhaps 
this  "1891"  typed  out  might  have  been  a  typographical  error.   It 
might  have  been  a  typo  for  1881. 

Now  since  De  La  Salle  Institute,  our  parent  corporation, 
was  incorporated  in  1882,  we  have  been  habitually  saying  for  a 
long  time  that  the  Christian  Brothers  started  in  the  wine  business 
in  1882. 

Teiser:   A  question  arises.   Back  in  your  discussion  when  your  order—is 
that  the  right  term  for  it? 

Timothy:   In  official  technical  language,  I  guess  you  would  say  that  the 

Christian  Brothers  is  a  religious  congregation.  However  we  have 
commonly  used  the  world  "order." 

Teiser:   I  see.  When  the  order  or  congregation  entered  the  wine  business, 
do  you  think  it  would  have  been  at  first  a  matter  of  making  wine 
for  the  group's  own  use,  and  then  making  it  perhaps  for  other 
Catholic  groups,  and  then  later  selling  it?  Do  you  know  anything 
of  the  progression  of  it? 

Timothy:  Yes.   The  first  wine  made  by  the  Brothers  at  Martinez  was,  let's 
say,  merely  to  save  those  grapes  so  that  they  didn't  rot,  and 
just  for  home  consumption.  Just  for  the  Brothers  to  use  themselves. 
You  might  even  say  it  was  thought  to  be  experimental.  They  wanted 
to  find  out  if  they  could  make  wine.  Now  apparently  it  was  some 
what  successful,  and  after  perhaps  a  couple  of  years  the  members 
of  the  clergy  in  the  local  area  and  the  neighbors  began  to  come  by 
and  ask  if  they  could  buy  some  wine.   So  sales  were  made  at  the 
winery  and  the  winery  began  to  grow  a  little  bit. 

This  growth  continued  right  on  up  to  Prohibition  time,  and 
then  you  might  say  that  we  continued  to  grow  through  the  Prohibition 
period  too,  in  that  we  were  given  permission  to  continue  to  produce 
sacramental  wine.  We  were  also  given  permission  to  make  sales  of 
medicinal  wine  sold  on  doctor's  prescription  throughout  the  whole 
Prohibition  period. 

So  we  have  a  continuous  uninterrupted  history  of  wine  production 
since  the  day  we  started  at  Martinez. 


Teiser:  I'm  quite  sure  this  is  not  true,  but  I'll  ask  it:  Was  the  fact 
that  the  wine  was  made  by  a  Catholic  organization  sufficient  to 
make  it  meet  the  standards  of  sacramental  wine? 

Timothy:  Well,  sacramental  wine  may  be  made  by  let's  say  even  an  atheist. 
There  is  nothing  sacred  about  the  man  who  makes  it. 

Teiser:   But  are  the  methods  standard? 

Timothy:  The  sacramental  wine  in  the  Catholic  Church,  as  I  understand  it, 
is  merely  required  to  be  made  100  per  cent  from  grapes.  That  is, 
it  must  be  pure  grape  wine.  Any  berries  or  cherries  or  something 
that  is  not  a  grape  would,  let's  say,  cause  it  to  be  invalid. 
So  it's  just  pure  grape  wine.  There  is  a  limitation  on  the  limit 
of  alcohol.  It  should  not  be  higher  than  18  per  cent  alcohol. 
So  a  fortified  wine,  say  above  18  per  cent  alcohol,  is  invalid 
as  an  altar  wine.  At  least  in  the  minds  of  some  theologians. 
There  are  those  who  will  say  that  it  is  illicit  after  it  goes 
above  the  18  per  cent  alcohol  reading.   It  may  be  illicit  but 
still  valid.  So  there  is  a  difference  of  opinion  among  theologians 
on  that  subject,  but  in  general  safe  and  sane  guidelines  are  any 
pure  grape  wine  not  over  18  per  cent  alcohol  is  a  valid  sacramental 
wine  in  the  Catholic  Church. 

Teiser:   Dr.  Maynard  Joslyn,  who  I  think  said  that  he  had  gone  into  this 
matter  for  the  book  on  sweet  wines,*  was  talking  about  wines  for 
use  in  Jewish  congregations,  and  I  believe  he  told  me  that  your 
wines  were  at  least  to  the  standards  of  kosher  wines.  Do  you 
know  that? 

Timothy:  No,  I  don't  know  much  about  kosher  wines.  However  I  have  met  a 
rabbi  whom  I  have  gotten  acquainted  with  and  know  pretty  well, 
who  told  me  (and  I  don't  know  if  he  has  a  very  modern  forward 
looking  sect  in  his  church  or  not)  that  there  is  no  such  thing  as 
kosher  wine,  or  there  is  no  such  thing  as  regulations  for  kosher 
wine.  He  gave  me  to  understand  that  it's  pretty  much  up  to  the 
individual  rabbi  as  to  what  he  wants  to  authorize.  That's  different 
than  what  I  had  heard  from  other  people  before.  He  is  Dr.  Leo 
Trepp,  located  right  here  at  Napa.** 


*Joslyn,  M.A.  and  Amerine,  M.A.  Dessert.  Appetizer  and  Related 
Flavored  Wines t  Berkeley:  University  of  California,  Division  of 
Agricultural  Sciences,  1964. 

**Rabbi  of  Beth  Shalom  Temple  and  an  instructor  at  Napa  College. 


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8 


Teiser:   I  know  there  was  a  good  deal  of  wine  distributed  during 

Prohibition  to  synagogues,  and  I  wondered  if  you  were  one  of 
the  suppliers. 

Timothy:  Well,  really  I  don't  know.  You  know  we  were  continuously  in 
the  wine  business  through  the  whole  Prohibition  period,  and 
apparently  our  Brothers  behaved  themselves  and  were  in  good 
repute  with  the  Internal  Revenue  Service  people  who  enforced  the 
law,  and  they  permitted  the  Brothers  all  through  the  Prohibition 
period  to  produce  sacramental  wines  and  the  medicinal  wines  sold 
at  the  prescription  counter  in  the  drugstore.  You  needed  a 
prescription  from  your  doctor  and  then  you  could  get  a  bottle 
of  wine  or  a  bottle  of  brandy  or  a  bottle  of  scotch  or  bourbon. 
So  apparently  if  you  were  a  favored  patient  of  your  dottor  and 
you  took  good  care  of  your  doctor's  bills,  why  [laughter]  those 
were  probably  some  of  the  prerequisites  before  you  got  that  kind 
of  a  prescription. 

Teiser:   What  types  of  wines  were  made  prior  to  Prohibition  in  Martinez, 
do  you  know? 

Timothy:   I  think  they  were  mostly  table  wines.  I  believe  the  Brothers 
produced  almost  exclusively  table  wines  before  Prohibition.   I 
think  it  was  quite  likely  during  Prohibition  that  the  Brothers 
began  to  either  buy  and  resell  a  little  dessert  wine  or  to  produce 
a  little  dessert  wine  of  their  own  at  that  time  by  buying  brandy 
and  fortifying  those  wines.  The  Brothers  did  not  have  a  still 
during  the  Martinez  days  when  the  winery  was  at  Martinez.  There 
was  no  still  anywhere  on  the  Brothers'  property  at  that  time. 

Here's  an  interesting  old  thing.  This  is  a  xerox  copy  of 
page  eight  and  nine  out  of  the  cash  book  of  the  Christian  Brothers 
at  Martinez  when  they  were  operating  as  De  La  Salle  Institute. 
It  is  in  the  archives  of  the  Christian  Brothers;  I  believe  it's 
at  St.  Mary's  College  Library  at  the  present  time.  This  old  ledger 
indicates  on  page  eight  that  the  Brothers  on  March  1,  1880,  spent 
$3.75  for  grape  vines.  Now  this  seems  to  be  the  earliest  mention 
that  we  can  find  in  print  or  in  any  old  ledger  of  grape  vines  or 
of  wine  at  the  Martinez  property. 

I  don't  know  how  many  grape  vines  they  might  have  bought  for 
$3.75,  but  in  those  days  they  may  have  gotten  several  hundred.   I 
would  think  that  grape  vines,  rooted  plants  ready  to  plant,  in 
those  days  did  not  cost  any  more  than  about  a  penny  apiece. 

I  recall  in  my  time  in  the  last  thirty-seven  years,  some  time 
between  1935  and  the  present  time,  that  we  bought  grape  vines  for 


Shipment  No. Serial  No. 

£«&«/-...., 193Y._._ 

MANUFACTURER  and  CONSIGNOR  LA  SALLE  PRODUCTS,  IflC. 

^  4  -  MARTINEZ,  CALIF. 

Permit  No.  California  A— SS? 

Kind  of  Liquor  California Wine 

Date  Manufactured /p..2A~- 

Quantity Wine  Gallons       Alcoholic  Content /<? 

Consignee  LA  SALLE  PRODUCTS,  Inc.  To  LA  SALLE  PRODUCTS,  Inc. 

Permit  No.  Missouri  A     41 
Shipment  No. Serial  No. 

I 

193 

MANUFACTURER  and  CONSIGNOR  LA  SALLE  PRODUCTS,  IflC. 

MARTINEZ,  CALIF. 
Permit  No.  California  A— 851 

Kind  of  Liquor  California Wine 

Date  Manufactured __ 

Quantity Wine  Gallons      Alcoholic  Content _ 

Consignee  LA  SALLE  PRODUCTS,  Inc.  To  LA  SALLE  PRODUCTS,  Inc. 

MILWAUKEE,  WIS. 


Permit  No.  Wisconsin  A — 18 


J 


Timothy:  about  thirty  dollars  a  thousand,  rooted  grape  vines  ready  to 
plant,  resistant  rootstock,  you  know,  for  about  three  cents 
apiece,  prior  to  World  War  II. 

There's  an  old  shipping  tag  indicating  that  the  name  the 
Brothers  operated  under  at  Martinez  at  this  particular  time  and 
during  Prohibition  was  La  Salle  Products,  Inc.,  Martinez, 
California.  Now  someone  wrote  in  "1925"  as  the  date  on  this 
shipping  tag,  but  apparently  they  didn't  make  the  shipment.   It 
shows  the  alcoholic  content  19  per  cent.  Printed  on  this  card 
it  showed  that  this  shipping  tag  was  to  be  used  on  shipments  made 
to  La  Salle  Products,  Inc.,  St.  Louis,  Missouri.  Then  someone 
scratched  out  the  St.  Louis,  Missouri,  and  put  San  Francisco  in 
there.   Below  this* I  have  another  one  of  these  same  cards  where 
no  one  made  any  handwritten  inscription  and  it  shows  at  the 
bottom  that  this  was  to  be  used  for  shipments  made  to  La  Salle 
Products,  Inc.,  Milwaukee,  Wisconsin.   So  this  gives  you,  let's 
say,  some  documentation  of  the  fact  that  during  Prohibition  the 
Christian  Brothers  were  making  shipments  of  wine  to  St.  Louis 
and  to  San  Francisco  and  to  Wisconsin. 

I  have  a  little  price  list  from  La  Salle  Products,  Inc., 
Martinez,  California.  The  listing  is  all  in  fifty-two  gallon, 
twenty-eight  gallon  or  ten  gallon  barrels.  So  all  of  this  was 
bulk  sales  in  oak  cooperage. 

Teiser:   What  was  the  date  of  that?  Do  you  know? 

Timothy:  Well,  I  don't  have  a  date  for  this.  It  was  during  Prohibition. 
Since  they  listed  these  small  barrels  in  the  different  sizes, 
this  was  undoubtedly  intended  for  the  altar  wine  trade.  A 
clergyman  or  a  parish  in  those  old  days  would  buy  in  any  one  of 
these  barrel  sizes  from  ten  gallons  on  up  to  fifty-two  gallon 
size,  and  then  they  would  do  their  own  bottling.   So  undoubtedly 
at  this  time  the  Brothers  were  not  doing  very  much  bottling, 
if  any. 

Teiser:   I  see. 


*0n  the  Xerox  copy;  see  illustration  opposite. 


• 


10 


THE  MOVE  TO  MONT  LA  SALLE 


Timothy:  When  we  acquired  this  property  just  outside  of  Napa  from  Theodore 
Gier,  we  found  that  there  was  a  little  still  on  the  property  along 
with  the  old  stone  winery,  and  about  150  acres  of  vineyard  out  of 
a  total  acreage  of  338.   Now  the  Brothers  acquired  this  from  him 
in  1930  during  Prohibition;  also  during  the  Depression.  Mr.  Gier 
was  rather  hard  pressed  financially  and  though  he  loved  this 
property,  and  considered  it  to  be  his  home  property,  he  just  felt 
forced  to  sell.   I  believe  that  he  sold  this  property  to  the 
Brothers  for  $50,000,  only  $10,000  of  which  the  Brothers  had  in 
cash.   For  the  other  $40,000  they  traded  him  several  apartment  or 
rental  properties  that  the  Brothers  had  in  the  Oakland  area. 

Now  Theodore  Gier  has  two  daughters  still  living  in  the  East 
Bay,  in  Oakland. 

Teiser:   Do  you  remember  their  names? 

Timothy:  Mrs.  Elsa  Boone*  and  Miss  Amelie  Gier. 

Teiser:   What  was  the  vineyard  that  you  came  into  then? 

Timothy:  When  the  Brothers  acquired  this  property,  Gier  had  some  Cabernet 
Sauvignon  in.  He  had  Sylvaner  Riesling--well  the  grape  commonly 
called  Sylvaner.   (That  same  grape  is  also  secondarily  called 
Franken  Riesling.)   Some  Johannisberg  Riesling  was  here,  and  the 
grape  that  is  properly  called  Pinot  St.  George  was  here  on  the 
property  at  that  time. 

Teiser:   So  he  had  not  been  growing  them  to  ship? 
Timothy:  No,  these  were  all  wine  grapes. 

Teiser:   During  Prohibition  so  many  people  converted  their  vineyards  to 
grape  varieties  that  would  ship... 

Timothy:  Well,  there  was  one  other  variety  on  the  property  that  you  might 

say  was  the  kind  of  thing  that  would  be  sold  to  the  home  winemakers 
for  adding  a  lot  of  color  to  a  wine  or  to  help  stretch  out  something 
else.  A  grape  called  Alicante  Ganzin.  There  was  a  small  acreage 


*Mrs.  Elsa  Boone  died  in  1972. 


11 


Timothy:  of  that  on  the  property.   It's  probably  the  most  intensely 

colored  red  grape  that  you  can  find.   It  was  very  dark.  We  used 
to  sometimes  laugh  about  it  and  we'd  say,  "Well,  you  can  crush 
that  and  then  take  it  and  paint  the  barn  with  it."  It  was  so 
red  that  it  would  make  a  red  barn.   [Laughter]   But  we  pulled  all 
those  out.   I  don't  think  you  can  find  an  Alicante  Ganzin  vine 
on  this  property  any  longer.  But  there  was  about  ten  to  twelve 
acres  of  it  when  Theodore  Gier  had  the  place. 

I  understand  from  Mr.  August  Benkiser,  who  was  the  vineyard 
foreman  for  Gier  and  then  also  the  vineyard  foreman  for  the 
Christian  Brothers  when  we  first  took  over  the  vineyards,  that 
the  way  this  Alicante  Ganzin  got  into  the  vineyard  was  that  it 
had  been  grafted  on  top  of  a  good  wine  variety  grape  with  the 
start  of  Prohibition.   So  that  it  was  specifically  planted,  let's 
say,  for  the  home  wine  making  trade. 

Teiser:   How  did  the  order  happen  to  decide  to  come  here  from  Martinez? 

Timothy:   The  Brothers  were  feeling  a  bit  crowded  at  Martinez.   The 

novitiate  had  been  growing;  the  buildings  were  getting  kind  of 
full.  The  city  of  Martinez  was  growing  out  close  to  the  front 
of  the  buildings.  The  Brothers  had  actually  sold  off  a  little 
bit  of  property  and  allowed  some  of  this  encroachment  in  order 
to  raise  a  little  money.  They  felt  that  the  city  was  too  close 
to  them  and  that  they  should  have  more  privacy  for  the  novices. 
In  those  days  the  theory  was  that  a  religious  order,  particularly 
for  the  training  of  the  young  men  just  entering  the  order,  should 
have  privacy,  seclusion,  that  kind  of  thing.   So  the  Brothers 
were  looking  for  new  property  that  would  be  somewhat  remote, 
somewhat  secluded,  and  that  would  have  a  winery  on  it,  that 
would  have  some  vineyard  present,  and  a  suitable  site  on  which 
they  could  build  a  new  novitiate. 

So  the  Brothers  were  actually  looking  all  around  the  Bay 
Area.   I  know  that  they  looked  as  far  south  as  Mission  San  Jose 
and  they  looked  throughout  Sonoma  County,  several  sites  in 
Sonoma  County.  They  must  have  looked  at  some  places  that  I 
don't  know  about.  Then  they  found  this  spot,  and  they  stopped 
looking.  This  place  looked  so  pretty  to  them  and  had  an  abundant 
water  supply,  which  was  one  of  the  basic  criteria  that  they  were 
looking  for.  The  water  at  Martinez  was  just  full  of  rusty 
material,  full  of  iron,  not  very  satisfactory.   It  was  loaded  with 
minerals,  and  the  quantity  of  water  at  Martinez  was  also  very 
small.  So  they  had  this  very  much  on  their  mind  that  any  new 
location  had  to  have  a  very  good  water  supply  and  then  should 


12 


Timothy:   preferably  have  the  other  things  that  I  mentioned,  winery  and 
vineyards. 

There  was  a  two-year  overlap  period.  I  have  mentioned 
that  this  property  was  acquired  in  1930.   I've  mentioned  that 
the  property  at  Martinez  was  closed  down  in  1932.  During  this 
two-year  period  the  Brothers  constructed  the  novitiate  buildings 
here.  They  are  quite  commodious  and  they  are  built  of  reinforced 
concrete.   The  buildings  are  quite  attractively  done  in  the 
Mission  style,  or  you  could  call  it  early  California  style  if 
you  want  to—something  like  that. 

The  buildings  were  built  mostly  in  1931,  completed  early  in 
'32,  so  that  in  April  of  '32  the  Brothers  had  their  official 
house  moving  and  house  opening,  opening  the  house  here  and 
closing  down  the  property  at  Martinez. 

Teiser:   What  is  this  building  called  that  we're  in  now? 

Timothy:  Well,  this  is  our  main  office,  the  office  for  Mont  La  Salle 

Vineyards,  and  is  located  at  Mont  La  Salle  on  Redwood  Road,  six 
miles  off  the  freeway  and  let's  say  about  eight  miles  from  the 
center  of  Napa. 

Teiser:   In  the  lobby  you  have  a  very  interesting  display  on  the  history 
of  the  order  and  also... 

Timothy:  Yes,  we  have  a  few  books  there  telling  something  of  the  history 
of  the  religious  order.  The  proper  name  for  the  religious  order 
is  The  Brothers  of  the  Christian  Schools.  We  are  very  commonly 
called  the  Christian  Brothers. 

The  display  in  the  lobby  upstairs  includes  some  books,  as 
I  have  just  said,  a  few  photos,  and  then  some  stamps  from  eight 
different  countries,  commemorative  stamps  honoring  the  Brothers 
or  some  of  our  institutions  or  our  founder,  St.  Jean  Baptiste 
de  la  Salle.  The  countries  represented  in  that  collection,  if 
I  can  recall  all  eight,  are  the  Philippines,  Monaco,  France, 
Belgium,  Brazil,  Equador,  Nicaragua,  and  Panama. 

Teiser:  In  all  of  those  the  Brothers  have  schools,  I  presume? 

Timothy:  Yes. 

Teiser:  Are  there  any  other  wineries  operated  by  the  Brothers? 

Timothy:  Well,  California  is  the  only  place  where  we  have  wineries  that 


13 


Timothy:   amount  to  anything.  The  Brothers  have  attempted  to  get  into  the 
wine  business  in  several  other  areas  of  the  world  and  generally 
it  has  not  been  very  successful.  Their  commercial  efforts  just 
haven't  been  successful.   I  believe  that  on  the  west  coast  of 
South  America,  the  Brothers  own  about  100  or  150  acres  of  vine 
yard  but  then  sell  the  grapes  to  some  other  winery. 

Teiser:   What  country  is  that? 

Timothy:   It's  either  Peru  or  Chile.  The  Brothers  there  had  wanted  to  get 
into  the  wine  business  and  had  just  not  felt  competent  to  even 
start.   We  had  advised  them  that  the  right  way  to  get  started 
would  be  to  send  some  bright  young  man  who  speaks  English,  and 
that  kind  of  thing,  to  the  University  of  California  at  Davis. 
And  start  that  way  with  the  proper  technological  background 
before  attempting,  let's  say,  to  start  a  winery  by  correspondence, 
or  also  that  this  might  be  a  better  way  than  for  us  to  attempt 
to  send  someone  to  them  and  attempt  to  train  somebody  there. 
The  training  that  a  person  would  get  at  Davis  would  be  so  much 
better  than  what  we  could  give  there  that  there  would  be  no 
comparison.  However,  they  just  haven't  had  the  right  talent 
available  to  them.   They  have  not  begun  to  implement  this  thing 
of  starting  a  winery  there.   They're  still,  I  believe,  just 
selling  those  grapes  to  some  winery. 

I  might  mention  in  passing  that  when  we  moved  to  Mont  La 
Salle  the  city  of  Martinez  owned  the  ferry  boat  that  went  across 
from  Martinez  to  Benicia.  Since  this  was  a  municipal  ferry,  and 
either  because  the  city  of  Martinez  was  very  friendly  with  the 
Brothers  and  liked  them  very  much  or  because  they  were  glad  to 
see  them  leave  town- -for  one  reason  or  another  —  the  city  of 
Martinez  gave  the  Brothers  free  passage  across  that  ferry  with 
all  of  their  household  furnishings,  all  the  wine  from  the  winery, 
all  the  casks  and  wine  tanks,  just  everything  that  the  Brothers 
moved  away  from  Martinez  to  Mont  La  Salle.  They  went  across  that 
ferry  free  of  charge.   [Laughter] 

Teiser:   What  happened  to  the  property  in  Martinez  then? 

Timothy:   The  property  at  Martinez  was  sold  off  and  subdivided,  and  it  is 
now  just  part  of  the  residential  area  of  Martinez.   It's  one 
mile  east  of  the  courthouse  in  Martinez.  Well,  it  used  to  be 
at  the  end  of  Pine  Street;  I  think  Pine  Street  was  continued  on 
through  the  property. 

The  Brothers  had  bought  the  property  in  1879  from  a  Mr. 
Bush.   There's  an  old  newspaper  clipping  in  which  Mr.  Bush's 


14 


Timothy:   name  is  mentioned.   One  writer  says  it  was  seventy  acres  and 

another  writer  reports  it  as  seventy-six  acres.   And  there  were 
twelve  acres  of  vineyards  on  it.  This  family  also  had  a  cherry 
orchard  about  a  mile  and  a  half  or  two  miles  away  in,  I  guess, 
Alhambra  Valley.   So  they  had  other  property  nearby. 

Now  I  might  mention  this  too  in  passing  that  [laughing] 
(I  hate  to  admit  to  how  old  I  am  or  give  any  clues)  I  entered 
the  order  at  Martinez  in  1928,  during  Prohibition.   The  Depression 
hadn't  started  yet,  but  I  remember  the  Martinez  property  then. 
The  old  winery.   I  remember  all  of  this  in  good  detail,  as  I 
was  young  at  that  time  and  prowled  around  the  property  there 
quite  a  lot. 

I  had  just  one  visit  through  the  winery  during  the,  oh, 
about  fourteen  months  that  I  spent  at  the  novitiate.   (A  couple 
of  months  as  a  postulant  and  a  year  as  a  novice.)   Since  this 
was  Prohibition,  Brother  Raphael,  who  was  in  charge  of  the  winery 
in  those  years,  was  very  careful  not  to  let  too  many  visitors 
or  anybody  unauthorized  wander  around  in  that  winery,  particularly 
the  young  people.   I  was  say  about  seventeen  and  a  half  or 
eighteen  years  old  at  the  time. 

The  novices  were  not  permitted  to  go  through  the  winery 
generally.  However,  one  of  my  older  brothers  got  married 
shortly  after  I  had  entered  the  novitiate.  He  came  on  his 
honeymoon  to  see  me  with  his  bride,  and  so  we  showed  them  around 
a  little  bit.  Then  we  asked  permission  to  look  at  the  winery  and 
permission  was  granted.   Brother  Raphael  showed  the  three  of  us 
around  through  the  winery  and  then  he  said,  "Brother  Ulfinian 
would  like  to  see  you  at  the  office."  The  office,  of  couse,  was 
down  in  the  school  buildings.  Brother  Ulfinian  was  kind  of  the 
bookkeeper  and  the  director  of  the  house  in  charge  of  things 
like  the  over-all  supervision  of  the  winery  and  the  supervision 
of  Brother  Raphael's  work.   So  we  went  down  there  to  his  room, 
and  this  Brother  Ulfinian  met  my  brother  and  his  bride  and  poured 
a  little  glass  of  wine  for  them.  However,  he  didn't  give  me  any 
because  I  was  both  under-age  and  I  was  a  novice.   So  I  didn't 
taste  the  wine  at  that  time.   [Laughter]  A  very  small  glass  of 
wine  was  offered,  let's  say,  to  the  bride  and  groom. 

Teiser:   [Laughter]  That's  really  nice.  Were  you  interested  in  the 
winery  when  you  saw  it  at  that  time? 

Timothy:  Oh,  I  was  interested  in  the  winery,  yes.   I  was  curious  about  a 
lot  of  things,  but  at  that  time  nobody  knew  how  long  Prohibition 


15 


Timothy:  was  going  to  last.  You  know  it  might  have  lasted  the  rest  of 

our  life  for  all  we  knew.  This  was  the  year  1928  when  Al  Smith 
ran  for  office,  tried  for  the  presidency  and  of  course  didn't 
get  enough  votes  to  win.  Al  Smith  was  running  on  a  wet  platform 
as  you  might  call  it.  If  Al  Smith  had  been  elected,  perhaps 
we  would  have  had  Repeal  four  years  earlier. 

In  1932  though,  when  Franklin  Roosevelt  ran  for  office  and 
won,  he  saw  to  it  that  Repeal  came  around  rather  soon.  Then 
the  official  end  of  Prohibition  took  place  late  in  '33. 


THE  BOYHOOD  OF  ANTHONY  GEORGE  DIENER 


Teiser:   Since  you  brought  yourself  into  the  story  here,  would  you  care 
to  tell  something  about  your  own  personal  background? 

Timothy:   Yes,  yes,  I  think  I  might  as  well.   This  is  probably  as  good  a 
point  as  any  to  put  something  into  the  record.  My  family  name 
or  baptismal  name  is  Anthony  George  Diener,  D-i-e-n-e-r.  German 
extraction,  one  hundred  per  cent  as  far  as  I  know.   I  was  born  in 
Elizabeth,  New  Jersey,  in  1910.   [Laughing]   (I  should  say  that 
quietly.)   The  folks  lived  there.  My  dad  had  worked  as  a  tailor 
in  New  York.  He  was  also  sort  of  an  amateur  beekeeper,  and  he 
had  several  other  jobs.  However,  in  1918  my  mother's  health  was 
not  very  good,  had  not  been  good  for  about  eight  years  or  so,  I 
guess  since  about  the  time  I  was  born.  And  doctors  there  in 
New  Jersey  (in  that  day  and  age  medicine  wasn't  what  it  is  today) 
they  told  her  she  had  consumption,  that  she  didn't  have  long  to 
live.   Some  parts  of  New  Jersey  were  below  sea  level  and  they 
said  that  she  should  move  to  a  higher  elevation  into  a  less  humid 
climate. 

My  Uncle  Al  was  already  living  in  Oxnard,  in  Southern 
California.  He  was  a  brother  of  my  dad  and  he  talked  our  folks 
into  moving  west.  We  came  and  arrived  in  Los  Angeles  in  June 
of  1918.  My  dad  then  looked  around  with  my  uncle  to  find  a  place 
to  open  up  a  business.  He  had  been  a  tailor,  so  he  had  some  old 
knowledge  of  fabrics  and  of  clothing.  He  settled  on  a  little 
clothing  store,  or  what  you  might  call  a  dry  goods  store,  in  the 
little  town  of  Cucamonga,  in  the  wine  country  of  Southern 
California.  So  that's  how  we  got  to  California. 

I  was  about  seven  and  a  half  years  old,  something  like  that. 
I  attended  school  for  one  year  in  Los  Angeles  at  St.  Agnes'  parish 


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16 


Timothy:   school.   I  attended  one  year  of  school,  the  fourth  grade,  in 
Pomona,  California.  Then  a  new  grammar  school  was  built  in 
Ontario,  California,  and  I  attended  the  last  four  years  of 
grammar  school  there.   It  was  while  I  was  in  grammar  school  that 
I  got  acquainted  with  Philo  Biane  whom  I  know  you  have  interviewed 
already. 

Teiser:   Yes.* 

Timothy:  We're  old  schoolmates  and  old  buddies  from  'way  back.   We  were 
in  the  same  class  together  so  we're  about  the  same  age.  We 
used  to  pal  around  as  little  kids  in  the  Cucamonga  area. 

Well,  when  I  graduated  from  grammar  school  my  dad  decided 
to  send  me  to  a  boarding  high  school,  to  St.  Mary's  High  School 
in  Oakland,  then  located  in  what  we  sometimes  facetiously  called 
the  "old  brick  pile."  St.  Mary's  College  and  St.  Mary's  High 
School  were  located  together  in  these  old  brick  buildings  on 
Broadway  Street.   Since  they  were  of  brick  construction  and 
massive  buildings,  the  kids  called  the  old  place  the  "old  brick 
pile." 

I  then  went  to  school  there  for  a  year  and  a  half,  my 
freshman  year  and  half  of  my  sophomore  year  in  high  school. 
Philo  Biane  and  I  came  together  to  enroll  in  the  freshman  class. 
I  left  there  after  a  year  and  a  half,  however,  and  he  continued 
longer.   I  transferred  to  Cathedral  High  School  in  Los  Angeles 
in  the  middle  of  my  sophomore  year  because  my  dad  and  mother 
and  the  rest  of  the  family  moved  in  from  Cucamonga  to  Glendale. 
I  guess  in  late  1925.  On  February  1,  1926,  I  started  to  school 
at  Cathedral  High  School.   I  graduated  from  there  two  and  a  half 
years  later. 

It  happens  that  I  was  in  school  there  with  Brother  Gregory 
who  is  my  boss  now.  He  is  the  president**  of  our  Mont  La  Salle 
Vineyards.   (I'm  a  vice-president  of  this  Mont  La  Salle  Vineyards.) 
So  Brother  Gregory,  whom  I  knew  in  high  school  as  Hubert 
Schiefelbein,  is  now  my  boss. 


*Biane,  Philo.  Wine  Making  in  Southern  California  and 
Recollections  of  Fruit  Industries,  Ltd. ,  an  interview  in  this 
series  completed  in  1972. 

**Brother  Gregory  resigned  from  the  presidency  September  28,  1971, 
after  having  suffered  a  stroke.   Brother  Frederick  was  elected 
president  on  September  30,  1971. 


17 


Timothy:       It  was  common  in  those  old  days  in  religious  orders  for  a 
name  change  to  take  place  when  you  entered  the  order.   The  name 
was  either  assigned  to  you  or  you  were  given  some  choice  in 
selecting  a  name,  and  so  that's  how  people  like,  say,  Anthony 
Diener,  became  Brother  Timothy,  or  somebody  like  Hubert 
Schiefelbein  became  Brother  Gregory.   In  most  religious  orders 
now,  particularly  the  Christian  Brothers,  the  young  men  entering 
do  not  have  such  a  name  change.   They  merely  continue  with  their 
baptismal  name  and  their  family  name;  "Brother"  is  merely  inserted 
ahead  of  their  name. 


Teiser:   Was  the  name  choice  in  your  time  generally  after  someone  you 
admired  or  knew  of? 

Timothy:  Oh,  yes  and  no.   In  the  time  when  I  entered  the  novitiate  they 
would  ask  you  to  give  a  list  of  maybe  three  names  in  order  of 
preference.   Perhaps  you  would  select  the  name  of  someone  you'd 
admired  and  put  that  name  in  the  list.  Well,  maybe  you  got  one 
of  those  three  names  that  you  suggested  as  your  preference  and 
maybe  you  didn't.   I  had  not  suggested  the  name  Timothy  at  all, 
but  it  was  assigned  to  me. 

Teiser:   I  see. 

Timothy:   They  had  reasons  in  those  days.   I  don't  know  if  they  would  seem 
strange  today,  but  our  order  had  kind  of  blocked  out  the  whole 
world  in  sections,  and  names  were  assigned  in  California  on  the 
basis  that  the  first  of  your  two  religious  names  had  to  start 
with  some  letter  from  "r"  to  the  end  of  the  alphabet.  And  then, 
even  more  refined  than  that,  they  had  certain  names  listed  and 
your  name  had  to  come  out  of  this  list  that  was  prepared,  say, 
by  the  Mother  House  in  Rome.   It  was  kind  of  a  code  you  might 
say.   If  a  Brother  showed  up  in  Rome  or  if  some  correspondence 
came  from  him,  no  matter  what  part  of  the  world  he  wrote  from, 
as  soon  as  they  saw  his  name  they  would  know  what  district  he 
came  from.   If  a  Brother  was  transferred  and  became  permanently 
assigned  to  a  different  district  than  where  he  had  received  the 
robe,  you  could  tell  this  by  the  fact  that  his  name  was  in  the 
different  part  of  the  alphabet  than  most  of  the  other  Brothers 
in  that  district  who  had  received  their  robe  in  the  district 
where  he  was  now  living. 

It  was  kind  of  a  strange  thing,  but  now  that  doesn't  exist 
any  more. 


18 


BROTHER  TIMOTHY'S  EARLY  YEARS  IN  THE  ORDER 


Teiser:   Did  you  decide  to  enter  the  novitiate  immediately  from  high 
school? 

Timothy:   Yes.   Immediately  on  graduation  from  high  school  I  went  to 

Martinez  to  enter  the  novitiate.   I  did  this  within  about  seven 
or  eight  days  of  the  time  that  I  graduated.   In  the  last  year  of 
high  school  I  had  made  up  my  mind  that  I  would  go  and  enter  the 
novitiate  at  Martinez  and  become  a  Brother.  Of  course  I  thought 
of  being  a  teacher.   I  had  no  idea  at  that  time,  particularly 
since  it  was  Prohibition  time  too,  that  I  would  ever  wind  up  in 
the  wine  business. 

I  entered  at  Martinez.   I  had  that  fourteen  months  approxi 
mately  of  postulancy  and  novitiate  there.   I  was  then  transferred, 
as  all  young  Brothers  on  completion  of  their  novitiate  were 
transferred,  to  St.  Mary's  College  for  college  work.   I  had  two 
years  of  college,  which  was  all  they  would  give  you  in  those  days 
because  they  needed  the  Brothers  out  in  school.   Then  I  started 
to  teach  school. 

I  taught  high  school  chemistry  and  high  school  English  and 
high  school  religion  for  one  year  at  Sacramento  at  the  Christian 
Brothers  high  school,  where  it  used  to  be,  on  21st  and  Broadway. 
(We  used  to  call  it  21st  and  Y.)   That  was  my  first  year  of 
teaching.   I  taught  for  three  years  at  St.  Mary's  High  School, 
teaching  the  same  general  subjects,  from  1932  to  1935.   In  the 
summer  of  '35  I  was  transferred  to  Mont  La  Salle. 

Since  I  had  been  teaching  high  school  chemistry,  one  of 
our  superiors  came  to  me  early  in  1935  and  asked  me  if  I  would 
like  to  go  and  work  at  the  winery  as  the  wine  chemist.  He  told 
me  to  think  it  over  for  about  a  month  and  consult  with  my  folks, 
and  that  about  a  month  from  that  date  he  would  be  back  and  would 
then  want  my  decision. 

So  I  consulted  with  my  parents  and  my  brothers  and  sisters 
and  nobody  raised  any  objections.   Then  some  time  early  in  1935 
I  told  Brother  Gregory  that  I  would  be  happy  to.   (Now,  this  is 
a  different  Brother  Gregory  than  the  present  Brother  Gregory  who 
is  here.   We  do  have  problems  like  that  of  duplicate  names.) 
This  Brother  Gregory,  who  was  the  Provincial  in  charge  of  all 
the  Brothers  in  this  San  Francisco  province,  came  back  after 
that  thirty-day  period  and  I  told  him  that,  yes,  I  would  be 
happy  to  go  to  the  winery  and  see  what  I  could  do  to  help  out  up 
there. 


19 


Timothy:       I  started  on  the  job  on  July  1,  1935. 
Teiser:   Had  you  had  a  special  interest  in  chemistry? 

Timothy:  Yes,  in  my  formative  years  and  in  my  studies  in  school  and 

college,  I  always  had  a  great  interest  in  what  you  might  call 
the  natural  sciences,  biology,  zoology  and  chemistry.   I  loved 
all  the  natural  sciences,  all  the  things  that  had  to  do  with  the 
physical  world,  the  things  you  could  see  and  feel  and  all  this 
kind  of  thing.   I  studied  both  zoology  and  chemistry  at  St. 
Mary's  College.  I  was  expecting  to  teach  biology  as  well  as 
chemistry,  but  most  of  our  high  schools  dropped  the  biology 
subject  about  the  time  I  was  starting  to  teach.   So  then  I 
taught  chemistry. 

Teiser:   When  you  were  asked  about  taking  a  position  here,  would  the 
Provincial  have  asked  you  to  consult  with  your  family  so 
seriously  if  it  were  just  a  move  to  another  high  school?  Or 
was  it  that  the  wine  business  had  a  special  aura  at  the  time? 

Timothy:  Well,  you've  got  a  very  real  solid  question  there,  and  it's  like 
this:  Prohibition  was  one  of  those  things  that  had  been  enforced 
for,  you  know,  a  number  of  years.   A  large  part  of  my  life,  and 
maybe  the  most  important  part  of  my  life  at  that  time,  had  been 
spent  during  the  Prohibition  period.  He  may  have  thought  that 
either  I  or  my  parents  had  some,  let's  say,  opposition  to  working 
at  a  winery,  handling  wine  and  that  kind  of  thing.  The  prohibi 
tionist  sentiment  was  strong  in  some  families,  particularly 
Catholic  families.   I  would  say  that  in  my  own  family  it  was 
kind  of  a  moderate  thing.  My  family  wasn't  really  opposed  to 
alcoholic  beverages  during  the  Prohibition  years.  However,  my 
dad  and  my  mother  were  quite  rigorous  law  abiding  citizens. 
They  didn't  want  to  do  anything  illegal,  that  kind  of  thing,  so 
it  was  very,  very  seldom  that  I  saw  anything  in  the  way  of  an 
alcoholic  beverage  around  our  home. 

Teiser:   Had  they  both  been  born  in  this  country? 

Timothy:  Yes.  Both  were  born  in  Elizabeth,  New  Jersey,  the  same  place 
where  all  of  the  children,  my  brothers  and  sisters  and  I  were 
all  born.   You  know  I  think  there  might  be  one  exception  to  that. 
My  oldest  sister  was  born  in  New  York. 

Teiser:   How  many  sisters  and  brothers  have  you? 

Timothy:   I  have  two  sisters,  both  a  bit  older  than  I  am,  and  four  brothers. 
I'm  in  the  middle  of  the  four  brothers. 


20 


Teiser: 


Timothy: 


Teiser: 


Timothy: 


Teiser: 
Timothy : 


Teiser: 
Timothy: 


I  see.   So  when  you  had  to  consult  your  family,  you  had  a  whole 
group  of  people  to  consult.   [Laughter] 

[Laughter]   Oh,  yes,  you  might  say  it's  a  large  family.  Now  my 
mother  and  my  father  have  passed  away,  but  all  my  brothers  and 
sisters  are  still  living.  All  at  this  moment  are  living  in 
California,  so  they  are  not  too  far  away. 

I  guess  I'm  the  farthest  north,  and  my  oldest  sister,  who 
happens  to  be  a  Maryknoll  nun,  is  the  farthest  south,  if  you'll 
say  Monrovia  is  the  farthest  south.   I  have  my  brother  Joe,  next 
younger  than  I,  who  is  living  in  Glendale,  California.   Two 
brothers  of  mine,  one  younger  and  one  older,  are  living  west  of 
Fresno.   One  brother  older  than  I  is  living  in  the  mountains  of 
Pinecrest,  California. 

It  seems  to  me  that  I  read  that  you  yourself  had  helped  the 
Brothers  move  the  winery  here  from  Martinez. 

Oh,  yes.   This  is  true.  One  summer  vacation  period  between 
semesters,  I  was  assigned  to  go  from  St.  Mary's  College  back  to 
Martinez  for  about  a  month  or  so  to  help  Frank  Soramer,  an  old 
Austrian  cooper  whose  widow  still  lives  in  Napa*  by  the  way--I 
helped  Frank  Sommer  there  for  about  a  month  to  load  a  truck  and 
then  to  ride  on  that  truck  and  transport  staves  and  headboards 
and  bottom  boards  of  wine  tanks,  and  staves  of  casks,  to  transport 
these  things  from  Martinez  up  here  to  Mont  La  Salle.   So  I  was 
physically  involved  in  some  of  this  tank  and  cask  moving.  Some 
of  these  things  that  went  across  that  Martinez  ferry  on  a  no-charge 
basis.   [Laughter] 

Did  you  have  large  wine  stocks  to  move? 

I  think  that  the  total  inventory  at  Martinez  that  was  moved  up 
here  was  about  240,000  gallons,**!  believe  that  I  came  across 
that  old  figure  somewhere  in  some  old  record.   I've  wondered 
whatever  happened  to  it  and  I  haven't  been  able  in  recent  years 
to  find  that  old  record. 

By  the  time  you  moved  here  it  was  quite  clear  that  Prohibition 
was  coming  to  an  end,  was  it  not? 

Yes.  Of  course,  they  bought  the  property  in  1930.  I  don't  know 


*Mrs.  Sommer  died  December  25,  1972. 

**"Please  footnote  where  I  said  240,000  gallons  may  have  been  moved 
from  Martinez  to  Mont  La  Salle.   I  am  Inclined  to  believe  that  the 
54,000  gallons  mentioned  by  Justin  Meyer  (page  109)  may  be  the  more 
reliable  figure.  The  240,000  gallons  may  have  been  the  total  capacity 
of  the  Martinez  winery,  including  fermenting  tanks."  Brother  Timothy. 


21 


Timothy:   if  it  was  clear  in  1930  that  Prohibition  was  going  to  come  to  an 
end  as  quickly  as  it  did.   But  by  the  date  the  Brothers  then 
settled  here  permanently,  in  April  of  '32,  there  must  have  been 
pretty  good  thought  that  Prohibition  was  near  the  end. 

Well,  naturally  the  Brothers  had  all  voted  for  Al  Smith  in 
1928,  and  I  might  say  too  that  I  believe  the  Brothers  were  all 
praying  for  Repeal.  And  then  I  think  most  of  the  Brothers  voted 
for  Franklin  Roosevelt  too.  Of  course,  he  had  a  lot  of  personal 
magnetism,  and  particularly  in  1932  he  went  over  with  a  tremendous 
big  margin  of  victory  in  the  voting.   That  was  my  first  year  to 
vote  in  a  presidential  election,  1932,  since  I  had  been  twenty-one 
for  a  little  less  than  a  year  at  the  time  of  the  election. 

So  I  came  to  Mont  La  Salle  in  1935.   I've  been  on  the  sane 
job  ever  since,  without  a  raise  of  pay  or  without  a  promotion, 
so  perhaps  I'm  in  a  rut.   [Laughter]   I've  been  thirty-six  years 
or  more  on  one  job.   [Laughter] 

Teiser:   You've  made  a  lot  of  wine,  though. 
Timothy:  Yes,  I  think  we've  made  a  lot  of  wine. 

Teiser:   Let  me  go  back.  Was  it  the  intent  from  the  beginning  that  whatever 
profits  should  be  made  from  the  wine  should  go  to  support  the 
schools? 

Timothy:  Yes,  certainly.  Yes,  let's  say,  this  would  be  an  almost  obvious 
fact  that  any  religious  order  like  ours  being  in  any  kind  of 
business  like  this  wine  and  brandy  business  has  a  purpose  of 
developing  this  revenue  for  the  educational  work  of  the  order. 
So  now  it  happens  that  in  various  parts  of  the  world  several 
other  religious  orders  are  in  the  wine  business  here  and  there. 
Now  their  main  reason  for  starting  in  the  wine  business  might  be 
to  produce  sacramental  wines  for  the  use  of  the  clergy,  but  once 
you  are  producing  some  sacramental  wine  it's  quite  a  natural  move 
to  make  some  wine  available,  say,  to  the  commercial  trade  or  to 
make  it  available  in  the  general  market,  or  anywhere  like  that 
you  prefer. 


22 


THE  MONT  LA  SALLE  WINERY 


Teiser:   By  the  time  that  you  came  here,  was  your  label  going  out  into 
commercial  channels? 

Timothy:  Now,  that  gets  to  be  a  little  bit  of  a  story  in  itself.  At 
Martinez  the  Brothers  used  a  label  called  La  Salle  Products. 
They  used  that  name  in  the  label  for  some  years  of  Prohibition; 
I  don't  know  if  it  was  for  the  entire  Prohibition  period  or 
just  what  portion.  Now  since  our  founder,  St.  Jean  Baptiste 
de  la  Salle,  had  that  name  la  Salle,  you  know,  it  is  sort  of 
built  into  most  anything  and  everything  in  our  order.  When 
we're  looking  around  for  a  name  for  something,  it's  very  natural 
for  us  to  think  back  to  our  founder  and  to  use  his  name,  or  part 
of  his  name,  like  our  Chateau  La  Salle  that  we  named  after  the 
house  of  the  la  Salle  family  in  Rheims.  It's  quite  natural  for 
us  to  do  that.   So  with  Christian  Brothers  establishments 
throughout  the  world,  you'll  find  the  name  La  Salle  here,  there 
and  everywhere. 

So  our  Mont  La  Salle  Vineyards  as  the  corporate  name  of 
our  wine  and  brandy  operation  stems  from  that  same  kind  of 
thinking. 

De  La  Salle  Institute  is  the  corporation,  and  it  conducts 
all  of  our  school  work  or  the  educational  work  of  the  Brothers 
here  on  the  West  Coast.  Mont  La  Salle  Vineyards  is  also  a 
California  corporation,  incorporated  in  1957.  Mont  La  Salle 
Vineyards  is  then  the  incorporated  name  under  which  we  operate 
today  in  the  wine  and  brandy  business.  So  that  may  explain 
something  further.  De  La  Salle  Institute  is  a  tax  exempt  non 
profit  corporation- -where  Mont  La  Salle  Vineyards  is  involved 
in  the  making  of  wine  and  in  making  of  brandy  and  the  sale  of 
its  products,  and  involved  in  making  some  net  profit,  we  hope. 
Mont  La  Salle  Vineyards  pays  income  taxes  on  its  income  and  we 
have  done  so  since  it  was  organized  in  1957. 

Teiser:   Someone  suggested  that  I  ask  you  how  a  church  organization  pays 
for  its  grapes  when  most  wineries  depend  upon  banks  during 
crushing  seasons. 

Timothy:  Well,  our  Mont  La  Salle  Vineyards  operates  just  like  any  other 
winery  in  the  way  of  being  a  private  corporation,  you  know,  and 
needing  to  borrow  from  banks  once  in  a  while. 


CALIFORNIA 


BURGUNDY     | 


VINEYARDS   AND  WINERY 
MOUNT  LA  SALLE   -    NAPA.  CALIF. 

PERMIT  NO.   CALIFORNIA   A-912  •   B.   W.   NO.   1721 

11TH   PERMISSIVE   DISTRICT.   CALIFORNIA 

NET  CONTENTS  ONE-  FIFTH   OF   A  WINE  GALLON 

ALCOHOLIC  CONTENT   UNDER   14   PER  CENT. 


La  Salle  Products 
Incorporated 


MARTINEZ,   CALIFORNIA 
Phone   223-J 


The  Christian  Brothers  of  De  La  Salle 
Institute  are  in  sole  control  of  the  winery 
at  Martinez,  and  the  wines  are  made  and 
shipped  under  their  direct  supervision. 

PRICE  LIST 
Dry  Wines    (Tax  4  cents  per  gal.) 

In  52  In   28  In  10 

gal.  bbl.  gal.  bbl.  gal.  bbl. 

Chablls   $1.20  $1.30  $1.40 

Sautern  1.20  .    1.30  1.40 

Claret   1.10  1.20  1.30 

Burgundy   1.20  1.30  1.40 

Sweet  Wines    (Tax   10   cents   per  gal.) 

De  La  Salle  ....$2.00  $2.10  $2.20 

Muscatel  „  2.00  2.10  2.20 

Angelica  2.00  2.10  2.20 

Sherry  xx  2.50  2.60  2.70 

Port  xx  2.50  2.60  8.70 

Sweet  Sautern      2.00  2.10  2.20 

Our  Sweet  Sautern  will  keep  the  same  as 
other  sweet  wines. 

Credit  given  for  Cooperage  returned,  pre 
paid,  In  good  condition. 

All  orders  receive  prompt  attention. 


23 


Timothy:       Now  when  we  moved  to  this  property,  the  first  label  that 

the  Brothers  began  to  use  here  was  called  Mont  La  Salle  Vineyards. 
The  "Vineyards"  wasn't  really  tacked  onto  the  name  of  the  wine, 
say,  as  a  brand  name  on  the  wine  bottle.   It  was  just  "Mont  La 
Salle."  When  the  Brothers  first  started  the  place,  for  about 
the  first  year  or  so,  someone  spelled  the  word  M-o-u-n-t.  And 
even  in  the  wall  of  the  chapel  up  here,  the  cornerstone  laid  in 
1931  has  the  spelling  M-o-u-n-t.  But  after  a  year  or  so  of 
operation  here  or  living  here  on  the  property,  the  Brothers 
insisted  that  since  we  were  a  French  order  we  should  spell  that 
Mont,  M-o-n-t,  La  Salle.   So  the  name  was  changed  then.  After 
just  a  few  years  here,  we  began  to  print  the  wine  label  with 
the  M-o-n-t  for  the  Mont  La  Salle. 

Teiser:   You  capitalize  the  "1"  in  "La"? 

Timothy:  Yes,  we  do.   I  have  Xeroxed  a  copy  of  an  old  label  showing  the 
spelling  "Mount"  in  the  Mont  La  Salle  Vineyard.*  It  shows 
alcoholic  content  under  14  per  cent.  The  wine  type  indicated 
is  "California  Burgundy."  We  have  not  regularly  been  using  this 
"under  14  per  cent"  as  the  alcoholic  designation  in  recent  years. 
This  is  probably  one  of  the  labels  first  used  by  the  Brothers 
when  they  began  to  bottle  here. 

We  continued  with  the  Mont  La  Salle  label  right  up  until 
we  began  to  get  into  a  relationship  with  Alfred  Fromm,  representing 
what  was  then  called  Picker-Linz,  an  importing  house  in  New  York. 
He  came  to  us  because  he  had  seen  some  of  our  wine.   I  think  he 
had  bought  it  in  New  Jersey.  Our  wine  was  being  distributed 
there  and  he  liked  the  wine  very  much.  He  thought  that  perhaps 
the  Brothers  would  be  interested  in  developing,  let  us  say, 
greater  sales. 

Teiser:   So  by  then  you  had  that  wide  distribution? 

Timothy:  Yes,  we  had  some  sales  under  this  Mont  La  Salle  label.  Actually 

the  New  Jersey  case  was,  let's  say,  without  our  knowledge  and  consent, 
Somebody  there  was  doing  something  he  shouldn't  have  done.  He 
was  buying  our  wine  in  barrels.  We  had  not  given  him  permission 
to  use  our  name,  but  he  began  to  put  our  name  on  his  bottles. 
So  this  wine  that  Alfred  Fromm  found  in  New  Jersey  was  our  wine, 
but  it  had  our  name  on  it  in  a  kind  of  unauthorized  way. 


*See  illustration  opposite. 


24 


Teiser:   I  see. 

Timothy:   So  this  was  kind  of  an  embarrassing  circumstance  in  a  way,  but 
it  was  one  of  those  strange  things  that  happen  once  in  a  while. 

Teiser:   It  ended  well. 

Let  me  go  back  to  when  you  first  saw  this  property  at  Mont 
La  Salle. 

Timothy:  Well,  actually  I  saw  this  property  for  the  first  time  when- -I 
think  a  little  bit  prior  to  moving  of  the  casks  from  Martinez 
up  here --a  group  of  us  Brothers  came  here  on  a  picnic  one  day  to 
see  it.  The  first  time  I  saw  this  property  the  old  stone  winery 
building  that  still  exists  right  out  here  was  here.  Wine  casks 
and  tanks  were  in  it,  not  exactly  in  the  same  arrangement  we  have 
today,  but  quite  comparable  to  the  arrangement  of  casks  and  tanks 
in  that  old  stone  building  today. 

Teiser:   Had  Mr.  Gier  kept  his  cooperage  up  through  Prohibition? 
Timothy:  Yes.  Quite  a  bit  of  the  cooperage  was  in  excellent  shape. 

Now  there  was  another  little  stone  building  too.  We  called 
it  the  "little  cellar."  It  still  exists  but  we  have  built 
around  it  so  it's  kind  of  concealed  among  other  buildings.  There 
were  two  stone  buildings  that  existed  out  here  with  a  span  of 
about  thirty  feet  of  space  between  the  two.  The  wine  cellar  and 
then  the  little  cellar.  Both  were  wine  cellars.  The  little 
cellar  may  have  been  completely  empty  when  the  Brothers  acquired 
this  property.   I  don't  know  exactly  whether  there  was  something 
in  it  or  not.  Theodore  Gier  had  his  distillery  in  that  building 
at  one  time. 

Teiser:   He  hadn't  been  making  wine  during  Prohibition,  had  he? 

Timothy:  At  least  not  for  the  entire  period  of  Prohibition.  He  may  have 
been  allowed  to  start  making  wine  at  the  beginning,  but  at  any 
rate  in  1930,  before  Prohibition  had  come  to  an  end,  he  had  been 
stopped  from  making  wine.   So  it  was  illegal  for  him  to  make  any 
sales  of  wine.  That's  why  he  was  hard  pressed  financially. 

Teiser:   I  see. 

Timothy:  That's  one  of  the  basic  reasons.  The  Depression  was  another  one. 


25 


Teiser:   You  said  that  there  was  a  still  here? 

Timothy:  Theodore  Gier  had  a  little  old  still,  yes.   It  had  once  been  in 
that  building  that  I  say  was  called  the  little  cellar.  When  I 
came  it  was  in  another  building.  A  frame  building  housed  the 
still  when  I  first  saw  it  in  1935. 


BROTHER  JOHN  AND  ALFRED  FROMM 


Timothy:  Now,  some  time  or  other  in  the  story  we  have  to  bring  in  Brother 
John.  Perhaps  this  is  as  good  a  point  as  any.   Brother  John  was 
the  man  who  was  largely  responsible  for  developing  the  size  of 
our  wine  and  brandy  business,  and  developing  our  relationships 
with  Fromm  &  Sichel,  the  firm  then  called  Picker-Linz.   I 
mentioned  Alfred  Fromm.  When  I  mention  him  I'm  all  the  way  up 
to  1937  or  1938,  say,  in  historical  dating. 

Brother  John  entered  the  order  early  in  1932.  He  entered 
right  here  on  this  property,  so  he  did  not  know  first-hand  the 
old  novitiate  property  at  Martinez.  Then,  after  having  gone 
through  his  novitiate  here  and  having  a  certain  amount  of  college 
training  at  St.  Mary's  College,  he  was  moved  back  up  here  to  work 
with  Brother  Raphael  in  the  winery.  The  same  Brother  Raphael 
who  had  been  at  Martinez  was  still  here  in  charge  of  the  winery. 
He  was  in  charge  from  about  1911  or  so  on  up  until  it  closed  at 
Martinez,  then  for  the  first  few  years  that  the  winery  operated 
here,  right  on  up  until  say  about  the  end  of  1934.  Perhaps  his 
jurisdiction  over  the  winery  may  have  extended  to  about  the  end 
of  January  of  1935  or  something  like  that. 

Brother  John  was  assigned  to  work  with  Brother  Raphael  in 
the  winery,  and  they  worked  together,  with  Brother  John  as  a 
young  man  only  about  twenty-two  or  twenty-two  and  a  half  years 
old,  something  like  that,  and  Brother  Raphael  quite  old. 
Brother  Raphael  was  Swiss   in  background.*  Brother  John  was, 
oh,  German  and  Scotch  and  Irish,  I  think  in  his  genetic  mix. 
Brother  John  was  a  very  competent  kind  of  an  individual  in  many 
ways.  He  had  been  born  in  Portland,  Oregon.  He  had  been  raised 


*For  additional  recollections  of  Brother  Raphael,  see  pp.  35-36. 


26 


Timothy:  by  his  father  in  and  around  the  produce  industry.  And  in  the 
produce  industry  they  have  various  by -words  like  this:   "Well, 
if  you  don't  sell  it  today,  you  throw  it  out  tomorrow."  You 
know,  it  becomes  rotten.   It  spoils  and  you  can't  sell  it 
tomorrow  if  you  couldn't  sell  it  today.  The  produce  business 
is  apparently  a  fast -moving  kind  of  a  thing,  and  you  have  to  be 
on  your  toes  in  order  to  operate  properly  and  to  make  any  money 
in  that  business. 

So  Brother  John,  being  a  bright  young  fellow,  picked  up  a 
lot  of  business  techniques,  a  lot  of  ambition  and  drive  in  and 
around  the  produce  business  from  his  father,  perhaps  from  other 
relatives  and  friends.  He  was  a  very  dynamic  and  creative  kind 
of  man.  He  had  the  kind  of  imagination  where  he  could  study  a 
subject  or  study  a  problem  and  look  into  the  future  and  pretty 
much  understand  how  it  was  going  to  work  out.  He  had  foresight, 
maybe  that's  the  one-word  way  of  saying  it.  He  could  juggle  a 
lot  of  problems  and  act  more  or  less  like  a  circus  juggler, 
keeping  everything  going  at  once,  you  know.  He  was  great  as  an 
organizer,  understanding  people,  being  able  to  size  people  up, 
evaluate  them  and  then  determine  whether  or  not,  let's  say,  he 
wanted  to  hire  a  certain  individual  for  some  specific  job.  He 
was  very  good  at  foreseeing  what  such  a  person  might  be  able  to 
offer  to  him  in  the  way  of  creativity  in  future  development  and 
so  on.  He  was  a  very  good  judge  of  men. 

Brother  John  had  just  loads  of  talent  and  loads  of  drive 
and  loads  of  energy.  However,  he  did  have  a  heart  problem. 
Doctors  after  his  death  told  us  that  he  had  had  a  bad  heart  from 
the  time  he  was  twenty-one  years  old,  that  he  had  had  rheumatic 
fever  at  the  age  of  twenty-one  and  that  this  had  damaged  his 
heart.   It  ended  up  with  him  passing  away  suddenly,  April  16, 
1962.   So  he's  been  gone  a  little  more  than  nine  years  now.* 

Now  that's  not  a  complete  story,  but  kind  of  a  thumbnail 
sketch  of  Brother  John  and  his  general  character,  his  personality, 
and  some  explanation  of  why  he  was  so  successful  in  developing 
our  relationships  with  Fromm  &  Sichel  and  our  entire  business. 

Teiser:   Prior  to  the  development  of  your  relationship  with  Mr.  Fromm,  your 
wine  distribution  was  in  both  bulk  and  bottled  wine? 


*Brother  John  was  born  Stanley  S.  Hoffman  on  June  11,  1912. 


27 


Timothy:  Yes,  yes,  we  had  both  bulk  and  bottle  sales.  I  guess  our  most 
sizeable  sales  were  probably  in  the  state  of  Washington.  Then 
probably  the  next  state  was  California.  We  probably  had  more 
sales  of  wine  in  Washington  than  we  did  in  California  before 
we  got  acquainted  with  Fromm  &  Sichel. 

Teiser:   Was  it  a  relatively  small  operation  or... 

Timothy:  Well,  yes.   Everything  is  relative  to  everything  else,  you 
know.  Certainly  in  this  day  and  age  and  looking  at  the  way 
things  are  today,  you  have  to  say  it  was  a  very  small  operation 
that  we  had  prior  to  our  getting  acquainted  with  Fromm  &  Sichel. 

Teiser:   But  it  was  a  commercially  feasible  one? 

Timothy:  No,  you  might  say  we  were  still  feeling  the  effects  of  Prohibition 
and  the  after-effects  of  it  or  whatever,  and  then  the  Depression, 
which  seemed  to  hang  on  longer  here  in  California  than  it  did 
on  the  East  Coast.  Of  course  maybe  I'm  net  a  good  judge  of  what 
happened  on  the  East  Coast,  but  the  Depression  period  seemed  to 
hang  on  a  long  time  out  here  in  California,  depressing  the  sales 
of  wine  in  the  general  market  and  the  price  structure  of  wines 
and  so  on,  right  on  up  until  practically  the  beginning  of  World 
War  II.   So  the  Depression  was  still  with  us  and  we  were  feeling 
the  effects  of  it  at  the  time  that  Alfred  Fromm  first  came  to  see 
us  and  we  first  began  to  have  a  working  relationship  with  his 
company.   I  think  the  official  name  was  Picker-Linz  Importers, 
Inc.  They  were  basically  a  New  York  import  house,  and  their 
imports  were  wines  from  Germany,  where  I  believe  Alfred  Fromm 's 
father  was  still  operating  a  winery  at  that  time  and  shipping 
wines  over  to  New  York.  They  also  had  other  wines  from  other 
countries  of  Europe  as  well,  I  think,  a  few  distilled  spirits, 
Scotch  whisky  and  one  thing  and  another.  Their  marketing  area 
was  mostly  the  New  York  metropolitan  area  at  that  time.  When  they 
began  to  distribute  our  products,  they  worked  from  a  New  York 
base  and  developed  that  New  York  market.  They  had  to  kind  of 
hopscotch  across  the  country  to  fill  in  voids  in  the  marketing 
field,  you  know.  Chicago  was  one  of  the  places,  one  of  the  other 
major  cities  in  the  country.   I  guess  it's  second  in  size,  at 
least  I  believe  it  was  then,  to  New  York.   So  Chicago  was  the 
next  logical  step.  The  Chicago  area  was  then  developed.  As 
time  went  on,  they  were  able  to  move  across  the  country  until 
today  we  have  distribution  of  our  wines  and  brandy  in  all  fifty 
states.* 


*For  additional  material  on  Alfred  Fromm  and  the  expansion  of 
Christian  Brothers'  markets,  see  pp.  38-41,  43  and  other 
references  as  indexed. 


28 


(Interview  #2  -  August  16,  1971) 


EARLY  HISTORY  OF  THE  MONT  LA  SALLE  PROPERTY 


Teiser:   Let  me  explain:  Brother  Timothy  is  looking  at  an  album  that  is 
owned  by  the  Brothers  and  is  titled,  The  Lotus  Vineyard.  Napa 
County.  California.  1893.   It  contains  early  pictures  and  other 
papers  related  to  the  present  Mont  La  Salle  property.   You  said 
the  property  owner  was... 

Timothy:   The  original  owner  as  we  know  it  of  this  Mont  La  Salle  property, 
that  has  had  a  number  of  different  names  over  the  years,  was 
Mr.  Hudemann,  H-u-d-e-m-a-n-n. 

Teiser:   H.  Hudemann. 

Timothy:  Yes.  He  owned  this  property  from  1864  to  1882.  And  it  is  said 
that  he  first  conceived  the  park  and  all  its  natural  beauty. 
This  photograph  shows  plantings  on  the  property  near  where  some 
home  sites  are  located.   Now  apparently  from  this  inscription 
Mr.  Hudemann  died  in  San  Francisco,  July  2,  1892.* 

Mr.  Hudemann  lost  this  property.  Then  the  property  was 
bought  in  1884  by  Rudolf  Jordan.   Rudolf  Jordan  owned  the  property 
for  about  sixteen  years  and  sold  it  in  March,  1900,  to  Theodore 
Gier. 

This  album  was  presented  to  the  Christian  Brothers  in  July, 
1930,  by  Mr.  Rudolf  Jordan,  Jr.,  who  had  kept  it  over  the  years. 
In  the  album  we  find  various  scenes.  Old  photographs  that  show 
the  beauty  of  the  property  and  show  some  of  the  buildings.  Most 
of  these  old  photos  were  taken  while  Rudolf  Jordan  owned  the 
property.  This  scene  showed  the  original  old  winery  on  the 


*See  also  pp.  30-31. 


29 


Timothy:   property,  but  it  shows  part  of  a  building,  the  spring,  some  water 
flowing  down  near  the  old  stone  winery  building.   The  old  original 
winery  was  only  about  maybe  twenty  by  twenty-five  feet  in  size, 
and  a  home  is  built  over  the  top  of  it,  so  that  that  old  stone 
winery  is  now  nothing  but  a  basement  under  a  hillside  home.* 

Teiser:   Who  built  that? 

Timothy:   I  really  don't  know.   I  think  it's  likely  that  either  Mr. 
Hudemann  or  Mr.  Jordan  built  this  old  stone  building. 

This  is  a  view  looking  from  the  vineyard  down  over  a  couple 
old  barns  or  implement  sheds  or  whatever  you  want  to  call  them. 
Hera's  another  view  from  a  little  higher  up  in  the  vineyard. 
Another  view  in  the  vineyard  showing  some  vines  rolling  over  a 
smooth  rounded  hill.  Other  vineyards  and  an  olive  orchard  in 
the  distance.  This  olive  orchard  area  is  directly  out  in  front 
of  where  our  Mont  La  Salle  School  now  sits  and  looks  down  over 
this  hillside.  There  is  no  olive  orchard  on  the  property  now, 
but  there  are  probably  about  forty  old  olive  trees--not  really 
in  that  orchard  but  in  different  spots,  along  the  edges  of  roads 
and  in  front  of  some  homes,  and  at  points  where  the  olive  trees 
did  not  interfere  with  the  cultivation  of  vineyards. 

Here  is  a  picture  of  what  is  said  to  be  the  lower  vineyard 
looking  east  through  the  canyon  to  Napa.  Napa  is  down  through 
the  gap  in  the  hills  out  that  way. 

This  was  a  little  pond  on  the  property.   I  think  it  was  an 
artificial  pond  and  it  was  about  three  or  four  feet  deep.  When  I 
first  saw  the  property  this  pond  was  full  of  water  like  you  see 
it  here,  and  there  were  two  old  row  boats  that  had  been  used  by 
the  owners  or  guests.  The  pond  was  getting  quite  overgrown  with 
water  lilies  and  items  like  that,  so  it  was  pretty  difficult  to 
do  any  rowing.  There  were  quite  a  lot  of  mosquitoes  breeding  in 
the  pond,  and  so  it  was  decided  during  the  course  of  construction 
of  Mont  La  Salle  School  to  drain  the  pond  and  get  rid  of  that 
water  and  get  rid  of  the  problem  of  the  mosquitoes  breeding  there. 
So  the  pond  doesn't  exist  any  more.   In  that  spot  we  have  a 
vegetable  garden. 


*There  are  three  old  stone  winery  buildings  in  all  on  the  property. 
The  two  larger  ones  were  built  in  1903  by  Theodore  Gier.   Brother 
Timothy. 


30 


Timothy:       This  is  another  section  of  the  pond.   It  had  a  fountain 
like  this. 

Teiser:   A  spouting  fountain. 

Timothy:   Yes,  squirting  water  straight  up  in  the  air.  Well,  gravity 

pressure,  the  water  coming  down  from  the  spring  up  above  where 
that  little  old  wine  cellar  used  to  be.   Several  of  these  little 
old  rustic  bridges  were  constructed  over  parts  of  the  pond. 
Several  little  islands  existed  in  the  pond  and  pathways  wound 
around  through  those  islands  over  these  bridges  and  back  again. 

Now,  here  somebody  put  an  inset;  1  guess  Mr.  Jordan,  Jr. 
An  Egyptian  lotus  had  been  planted  in  the  pond.   That  was  the 
water  lily  that  I  said  earlier  was  crowding  things.  They  grew 
very  well  in  the  pond.   Rudolf  Jordan  even  bothered  to  put  the 
Latin  name  of  this  Egyptian  lotus  here  in  the  book--Nulumbium 
Speciosum. 

Teiser:   And  the  inset  is  a  little  color  picture  of  that  lotusi 
Timothy:  Yes,  yes,  that's  the  flower. 

Another  view  showing  the  pond  down  below  and  looking  out 
from  a  small  planting  of  vineyard.  Here  we  have  the  first  wine 
label  that  was  used  on  the  property,  called  Montelindo  Recuerdo 
Vintage,  Napa  Redwoods,  Napa,  California;  printed  by  Louis 
Roesch  Company  in  San  Francisco. 

Teiser:   Oh,  yes,  and  with  that  same  water  lily  as  a  design. 

Timothy:   Then  Rudolf  Jordan,  Jr.,  in  deciding  to  present  this  book,  which 
certainly  was  one  of  his  prize  possessions,  to  the  Christian 
Brothers,  wrote  an  inscription  on  one  of  the  back  pages  of  this 
album.   He  outlines  some  of  the  history  of  the  place,  and  it  reads 
like  this: 

"Herman  Hudemann,  the  founder  of  this  place  formerly  known 
as  'Spout  Farm1  and  later  as  'Lotus  Farm,'  was  a  German  by 
birth  who  was  supposed  to  have  made  a  fortune  of  $60,000  in 
Mexican  mines.  He  came  to  Napa  in  the  early  sixties  of  last 
century  (1800).  He  bought  large  tracts  of  land  both  east  and  west 
of  his  home  place  and  owned  large  herds  of  cattle  and  sheep.  He 
was  a  great  lover  of  flowers  and  laid  out  this  place  which,  by 
its  natural  beauty,  lent  itself  well  to  landscape  gardening.  He 
was  a  generous  host  and  entertained  his  friends  as  would  a  jovial 
bachelor.  He  had  bad  luck  with  his  stock,  much  of  it  being  stolen, 


31 


Timothy:  and  gradually  lost  his  lands.  Finally,  about  1882,  a  San 

Francisco  bank  foreclosed  his  mortgages  and  he  found  himself 
both  penniless  and  homeless,  after  residing  here  for  about 
twenty  years.  Friends  had  arranged  to  call  for  him,  but  he  left 
the  place  during  the  previous  night  being,  unable—as  he  is 
reported  to  have  said--to  part  with  it  in  full  view  of  all  its 
beauty  and  its  charms.  He  found  employment  as  a  warehouse 
keeper  in  San  Francisco.  In  1892,  on  July  2,  he  was  found  dead 
in  his  bed,  friends  having  called  to  make  arrangements  for  an 
outdoor  celebration  of  July  4th.  He  was  over  seventy  years  old. 
His  body  rests  in  the  old  Masonic  Cemetery  in  San  Francisco  in 
an  unmarked  grave.   The  most  fitting  monument  to  his  memory 
remains  the  Sequoia  Gigantea,  a  very  stately  tree  which  he  had 
planted  in  front  of  the  old  dwelling  now  demolished. 

"As  a  very  young  man,  full  of  hope  and  energy,  the  writer 
[Rudolf  Jordan,  Jr.]  intended  to  develop  the  place  as  a  vineyard, 
for  which  worked  [sic]  he  had  been  trained;  but  market  conditions 
and  lack  of  capital  compelled  him  to  give  up  the  project. 

"The  natural  beauty  of  the  place  and  its  splashing  fountains 
and  the  abundant  wildlife  were  ever  an  inspiration,  not  only  for 
the  ceaseless  work  required,  but  also  for  a  sustained  meditation 
on  the  wonders  of  nature. 

"Once  upon  a  time  the  Egyptian  Lotus --Nulumbium  Speciosum-- 
flourished  in  the  shallow  portions  of  the  pond  and  added  much 
beauty  to  the  mystery  of  its  still  waters.  When  the  writer  was 
informed  that  this  place  had  been  acquired  by  the  Christian 
Brothers  for  an  educational  institution,  he  felt  that  it  had 
finally  come  into  proper  hands,  because  the  influence  of  its 
beauty  and  its  wooded  hills  cannot  help  being  beneficial  in  the 
education  of  young  men.   For,  its  quiet  seclusion  should  further 
the  contemplation  on  the  Infinite  Mind  in  the  deep  shade  of  its 
eternal  Redwoods. 

"Rudolf  Jordan,  Jr.,  July  1930,  333  Kearny  Street,  San 
Francisco,  California." 

Then  there  is  a  postscript  with  the  initials  "N.B." 
Teiser:   Note  well;  "nota  bene." 

Timothy:  "Hudemann  is  supposed  to  have  imported  the  German  carp,  some  large 
ones  being  in  the  pond  at  that  time.  Fond  of  digging  in  the  muddy 
bottom  it  kept  water  turbid  and  also  ate  the  buds  of  the  water 


32 


Timothy:   lilies.   It  spread  to  the  river  waters  of  [the]  vicinity  and 
turned  out  to  be  no  welcome  acquisition." 

So  apparently  this  carp  spread  to  the  Napa  River,  and  the 
people  didn't  like  that. 

Now  Rudolf  Jordan,  Jr.,  wrote  a  poem  and  inscribed  it  in  the 
back  of  this  same  album.   I  suppose  I  should  read  this,  too.  I 
think  it's  pretty  good.  The  title  is  Sempervirens. 

Five  thousand  years  of  untold  history 

Are  locked  in  fluted,  red -brown  bark 

Of  these  cathedral  columns,  reverently 

They  raised  their  fingered  tops  and  mark 

The  azure  sky  a  temple  vast; 

Like  pyramids,  with  broadened  base 

Deep-rooted,  gripping  earth,  they  will  outlast 

The  blight  of  time  and  rust  of  place. 

For  countless  years  before,  in  sheltered  dells, 

Amid  upheaving  nature's  strife, 

They  stood  like  brave,  unyielding  sentinels, 

The  emblems  of  eternal  life. 

Though  ruthless  axe  has  laid  them  low,  and  flame 

Has  scarred,  they  rise  in  victory 

Undaunted,  ever  honor  crowned  by  name 

Of  Redwood,  matchless,  sovereign  tree. 

A  strange  elixir  courses  through  its  veins, 

A  blood  undoing  rot  and  pest. 

In  joyous  freedom  from  the  galling  chains 

Of  ailment,  bittering  life's  zest. 

Without  compare  its  timber,  mighty  store 

For  rough  support  or  satin  wall 

Of  panels,  strong  and  gentle  evermore, 

The  gift  of  ageless  suns  withal. 

Young  manhood's  craving  longings  were  entwined 
With  redwood  evergreen,  deep  tide 
Of  hope  engulfed  a  doubting,  restless  mind- 
Here  courage,  faith  and  peace  abide, 
A  vision  won—charred  stumps  bid  saplings  soar 
From  pulsing  earth,  voiced  pillars  of 
A  living  temple,  prompting  to  adore 
The  spirit  of  a  brother's  love. 


33 


Timothy:       A  wreath  of  evergreen  adorns  the  spot 

Where  youthful  dreams  were  laid  to  rest; 

At  times  fond  memory  bewails  the  lot 

Of  banishment  for  fortune's  quest; 

And  yet,  when  bracing  hope  seems  on  the  wane, 

Wherever  Redwoods  stand  and  sing, 

To  hallowed  ground  the  trail  leads  on  again 

For  true,  unfettered  worshipping. 

R.J.Jr. 

This  principal  paper  in  the  front  of  this  book  is  a  deed 
from  the  Odd  Fellows  Saving  Bank  to  Rudolf  Jordan  dated  May  3, 
1884.   That  would  be  the  date  of  his  purchase  of  the  property.* 


WINE  MAKING  TECHNOLOGY  IN  THE  POST-REPEAL  PERIOD 


Teiser:   Brother  Timothy,  you  were  brought  here  as  a  chemist,  but  I  suppose 
you  were  expected  to  be  a  winemaker  suddenly,  weren't  you? 

Timothy:  Well,  Brother  John  was  on  the  job  at  that  time;  this  is  1935. 
Brother  John  had  been  on  the  job  for  about  a  year  or  maybe  a 
little  more  than  a  year  before  I  came  along  in  the  wine  business 
here.   Brother  John  had  attended  Dr.  [William  V.]  Cruess'  courses 
that  were  given  at  the  University  of  California  at  Berkeley  in  the 
food  products  classrooms.  Dr.  Cruess  in  those  years  immediately 
after  Repeal  was  conducting  some  courses  that  were  part-time 
courses,  even,  I  believe,  afternoon  and  night  classes,  so  that 
part-time  students  could  come  and  learn  something  about  wine 
business.   Perhaps  the  whole  sum  of  what  a  winemaker  was  expected 
to  know  in  those  days  was  contained  within  the  covers  of  a  little 
book  by  Dr.  Cruess  on  the  principles  and  practices  of  wine  making. 
A  little  book  about  five  eighths  of  an  inch  thick.** 


*For  additional  material  on  the  history  of  the  property,  see 
pp.  58-66. 

**Cruess,  William  V.,  The  Principles  and  Practices  of  Wine  Making. 
New  York:  Avi  Publishing  Co.,  1934,  212p. 


Timothy:       Now  the  industry,  having  just  gone  through  Prohibition, 

had  lost,  you  might  say,  a  whole  generation  of  winemakers,  since 
those  who  had  been  in  the  business  just  before  Prohibition  pretty 
much  had  to  go  out  and  find  some  other  work.   They  might  take  a 
job  as  a  carpenter  or  a  blacksmith  or  an  automobile  repairman  or 
most  anything;  I  don't  know  what  they  did. 

When  I  started  in  1935,  there  was  hardly  anybody  around 
from  whom  you  could  get  any  reliable  information.   I'd  been 
teaching  high  school  chemistry  and  if  I  would  ask  somebody  the 
very  simplest  kind  of  question  about  wine  chemistry,  I  would 
generally  find  out  that  they  didn't  know  the  answer.   They  would 
just  look  at  me  and  think  that,  "Well,  you're  digging  too  deep." 
People  in  the  wine  business  just  didn't  know  all  the  background 
of  wine  technology  that  they  should  have  known. 

Of  course,  let's  say,  they  were  all  young,  and  a  lot  of 
winemakers  were  working  by  the  old  rule  of  thumb.   Some  of  the 
things  were  like  old  superstitions  in  the  industry,  things  like, 
you  don't  rack  a  wine  or  you  don't  bottle  a  wine  on  a  cloudy  day, 
or  a  rainy  day.  You  wait  for  a  bright  sunny  day,  a  bright  clear 
day  before  you  move  that  wine  from  one  cask  or  tank  to  another. 

Perhaps  things  like  that  were  sort  of  current  in  the 
industry,  at  least  in  some  of  the  wineries.  Maybe  those  were  in 
more  backward  wineries.   In  trying  to  rationalize  that  thing 
about  not  moving  a  wine  on  a  cloudy  day  or  waiting  for  a  bright 
sunny  day,  the  only  kind  of  a  thought  that  I  can  come  up  with 
that  might  make  some  sense  is  that  they  found  from  experience 
that  if  they  opened  a  cask  or  tank  on  a  rainy  day,  perhaps  the 
wine  became  a  little  cloudy.  But  if  they  did  the  same  thing  on 
a  bright  sunny  day,  perhaps  they  could  bottle  the  wine  without 
filtration  and  the  wine  was  clear. 

Well,  it  seems  to  me  that  this  must  have  been  just  simply 
a  matter  of  atmospheric  pressure.  On  a  rainy  or  cloudy  day, 
atmospheric  pressure  was  low  and  the  man  went  with  the  hammer  and 
tapped  on  the  wooden  bung  on  the  top  of  the  cask  or  tank  and 
then  pulled  that  bung  out.  With  the  atmospheric  pressure  being 
low,  the  wine  would  tend  to  jump  in  the  tank.  Perhaps  that  wine 
had  been  put  in  the  tank  when  it  was  a  bright  sunny  day  and  the 
atmospheric  pressure  was  then  high.   So  any  jar  or  sort  of  a 
little  jump  that  the  wine  might  make  inside  that  cask  or  tank 
would  tend  to  dislodge  sediments  that  may  have  adhered  to  the 
side  walls  of  the  cask  or  tank,  and  it  would  throw  these  things 
somewhat  into  suspension.   So,  if  there  is  any  truth  to  that  old 


35 


Timothy:   thing  of  don't  rack  the  wine  on  a  rainy  day  or  cloudy  day,  it 
must  have  something  to  do  with  barometric  pressure. 

Teiser:   When  you  came  into  the  industry,  you  had  to  learn  then  just  as 
other  industry  members  had  to  learn,  didn't  you? 

Timothy:  Yes,  yes.  And  I  say  all  this  in  spite  of  the  fact  that  Christian 
Brothers  did  have  a  continuous  wine  production  history  from  the 
time  we  got  started  at  Martinez  until  the  present  day.   Brother 
Raphael  had  been  the  winemaker  through  those  Prohibition  years. 
He  was  born  in  Switzerland,  worked  around  dairies  and  cheese 
factories,  and  so  his  background  of  technology  was  all  connected 
with  dairying  and  cheese  before  he  got  into  the  wine  business  at 
Martinez.   I  knew  him  for  a  number  of  years,  about  sixteen  years 
I  guess  before  he  passed  away  about  1944. 

He  was  not  educated  beyond,  I  guess,  about  grammar  school. 
He  was  a  very  simple  and  sincere  and  hard-working  kind  of  a  man. 
One  of  the  by-words  that  he  had  about  wine  was  that  hard  work 
makes  good  wine.   I  believe  this  had  to  do  with  merely  the  fact 
that  you  had  to  scrub  everything,  you  had  to  scrub  every  bucket, 
every  hose.   You  had  to  scrub  the  interior  of  every  cask  and  tank. 
You  had  to  scrub  the  exterior  too  to  make  sure  that  it  was  clean. 
This  same  Brother  Raphael,  even  though  he  believed  in  the  constant 
scrubbing  of  things  and  very  great  cleanliness  in  and  about  the 
winery,  really  didn't  understand  the  microbiology  of  wine.  He 
didn't  understand  the  living  organisms  that  might  be  present  in 
the  wine.   Brother  John  used  to  say  about  him  that  he  would  go 
around  and  look  for  a  wine  that  was  clear  in  a  wine  cask  or  tank. 
If  it  was  clear,  then  he  could  send  that  to  the  bottling  department 
and  you  could  bottle  that  one.   If  it  was  not  clear,  he  would  just 
let  time  go  by  until  it  cleared  up  by  itself.  At  least  hoping 
that  it  would  clear  up. 

Now  if  there  was  any  microorganism  present  in  the  wine,  the 
microorganism  with  the  passage  of  time  might  just  develop  and 
become  a  worse  problem.   So,  waiting  for  it  to  clear  up  was  not 
always  the  answer. 

When  Brother  John  came  into  the  wine  business  and  studied 
a  few  of  Dr.  Cruess'  subjects  at  Berkeley,  it  was  not  very  long 
before  Brother  John  could  see  that  Brother  Raphael  really  didn't 
understand  the  chemistry  and  the  bacteriology  of  wine.   So  very 
soon  some  conflict  occurred  in  the  way  of  differences  of  opinion. 


36 


Timothy:       The  Brother  Provincial,  the  man  in  charge  of  our  San 
Francisco  district,  the  entire  West  Coast,  could  see  that 
Brother  John  knew  more  about  the  subject  than  Brother  Raphael. 
So  Brother  Raphael  was  replaced  by  Brother  John  right  about  the 
end  of  1934,  about  the  beginning  of  "35.   Brother  John  was  then 
in  full  charge  of  the  winery  for  maybe  about  six  months  or  so 
before  I  entered  the  winery  to  become  his  assistant,  or  his  wine 
chemist,  or  whatever  you  want  to  say  there. 

Teiser:   Was  pure  yeast  culture  introduced  about  the  time  you  came  in? 

Timothy:  No.  A  few  years  later,  maybe  five  or  more  years  later,  we  began 
to  consider  and  talk  about  and  experiment  with  pure  yeast 
culture.   In  those  first  years  that  I  was  in  the  wine  business, 
we  depended  on  the  yeast  cultures  that  were  present  on  the  skins 
of  the  grapes.  You  had  in  those  years  more  sporadic  fermentations- 
more  unpredictable  fermentations.  A  lot  of  things  were  not 
thoroughly  known  or  well  incorporated  into  the  practices  of  running 
the  winery  that  should  have  been  known  and  that  are  now  known. 
Things  like  picking  the  grapes  at  a  proper  period  of  ripening 
rather  than  let  them  get  overripe. 

It  seemed  that  the  old  practices  were  to  let  the  grapes  get 
as  ripe  as  possible.  Let  them  get  about  as  much  sugar  as  you 
could  possibly  get.   So  there  were  years  when  we  crushed  grapes 
all  the  way  up  to  twenty-eight  or  more  degrees  sugar.   This  was 
done  upon  occasion,  and  it  was  generally  known  then  though  that 
that  was  a  little  too  high.  But  twenty-four,  twenty-five,  twenty- 
six  were  thought  to  be  all  right.  Those  readings  are  a  bit  high 
too.  Very  simple  things  like  that  were  not  very  well  understood 
in  the  industry  in  those  days. 

Teiser:   You  yourself  must  have  acquired  a  great  deal  of  knowledge,  because 
I  understand  you've  been  a  member  of  the  Wine  Institute  technical 
advisory  committee,  and  are  one  of  the  state's  leading  technologists, 

Timothy:  Well,  I've  been  around  the  wine  industry  for  thirty-six  years 

now,  and  after  thirty-six  years  I  ought  to  know  the  subject  pretty 
well.   I  did  not  have  the  benefit  of,  let's  say,  attending  the 
University  of  California  at  Davis  for  their  entire  courses  in 
viticulture  and  enology.   It  would  have  been  better  if  I  had,  but 
I  sort  of  learned  the  hard  way,  working  under  Brother  John, 
learning  from  him.   Also,  reading  everything  that  I  could  get  my 
hands  on  that  was  printed  by  the  University  of  California. 
Practically  all  the  books  that  have  come  out  of  the  University  of 
California  I  have  gotten  quite  familiar  with. 


37 


Teiser:   They've  been  learning  things  all  this  time  too. 

Timothy:  Yes,  yes,  sure.  The  whole  subject  of  science  is  the  matter  of 
settling  things  and  researching  things  and  delving  into  the 
unknown  to  some  degree.   That's  what  research  is.   Trying  to 
find  out  what  is  there.   If  you  knew  ahead  of  time,  why  then 
you  wouldn't  need  to  research  the  problem.   [Laughter]   So 
you're  digging  into  the  unknown  all  the  time  with  research. 

Now  the  University  of  California  deserves  great  credit  for 
research  and  standardization  of  practices,  for  the  recognition 
of  what  are  the  correct  practices  and  what  are  the  incorrect 
practices  and  so  on;  then  for  the  advocating  of  these  things 
and  for  the  promoting  of  these  better  practices  among  the  wineries, 
The  University  of  California  for  maybe  thirty  years  has  been 
telling  grape  growers  to  plant  better  grape  varieties  to  make 
better  wines,  to  plant  in  the  recommended  regions  rather  than 
to  plant  in  poorer  locations.  So  the  University  has  been  very 
helpful  to  the  industry,  both  the  viticultural  industry  and  the 
wine  making  industry,  and  in  the  elevating  of  the  wine  quality 
of  California.   I  think  in  recent  years,  let's  say  the  last  ten 
years,  the  recognition  of  this  high  quality  of  California  wines 
has  gotten  increasingly  accepted  throughout  the  trade,  and 
throughout  the  whole  enological  world  you  might  say. 

People  in  other  countries  recognize  that  the  University  of 
California  at  Davis  is  one  of  the  leaders  in  the  world  for  the 
courses  in  viticulture  and  enology  that  it  conducts.   Students 
have  come  from  perhaps  twenty  different  countries  over  the  years 
to  study  there,  and  also  at  Fresno  State  College.   Students  from 
South  Africa,  from  Australia,  from  France,  from  all  the  wine 
producing  countries  of  the  world  that  I  can  think  of  have  come 
either  to  visit  or  to  enroll  in  classes  at  the  University  of 
California  at  Davis. 

Teiser:   Do  you  in  your  winery  employ  these  younger  trained  men? 

Timothy:   Yes,  we  do.   I  don't  have  the  number  right  at  my  fingertips,  but 
we  must  have  about  ten  or  twelve  men,  practically  all  of  them 
younger  than  I  am,  who  have  graduated  from  the  University  of 
California  at  Davis  or  from  Fresno  State  in  the  enology  and 
vicitulture  courses. 


38 


ALFRED  FROMM  AND  MARKET  EXPANSION 


Teiser:   We  were  talking  I  think,  when  we  stopped  last  Thursday,  about 
your  relationship  with  Alfred  Fromm. 

Timothy:   Yes,  that's  right.  When  Alfred  Fromm  came  into  our  winery  for 
the  first  time,  he  represented  what  was  called  Picker-Linz 
Importers,  Inc.  in  New  York.   I  believe  the  first  time  he  came 
to  Mont  La  Salle  was  in  1937.  Of  course,  Brother  John  was  on 
the  job.   Brother  John  was  a  very  aggressive  and  dynamic  kind  of 
person,  and  a  very  busy  sort  of  person.  He  was  very  glad  to  see 
Alfred  Fromm.   He  showed  him  all  around  the  place  with  consider 
able  enthusiasm.  We  drew  samples  from  wine  casks  and  tanks 
throughout  the  winery,  and  poured  them  for  Alfred  Fromm  who  was 
a  very  competent  wine  taster  and  still  is.  Of  course  you  know 
that  he's  in  San  Francisco  now.  The  headquarters  of  Fromm  & 
Sichel  is  in  San  Francisco.  That's  their  home  office,  and  Alfred 
is  president  of  the  company. 

Alfred  Fromm  was  quite  impressed  with  the  samples  of  wine 
that  he  tasted  at  that  time.  Then  he  and  Brother  John  sat  down 
and  worked  out  the  beginnings  of  an  agreement,  a  contract  by 
which  we  could  work.  Now  I  might  say  at  this  time  that  we  had 
not  yet  printed  a  label  with  the  name  The  Christian  Brothers  as 
the  brand  name  in  large  type.  We  had  only  used  prior  to  this 
time  the  Mont  La  Salle  label.   It's  almost  identical  to  the 
label  that  we  use  today  as  the  altar  wine  label.  Also  that  same 
wine  was  sold  as  a  commercial  wine;  I  believe  the  printer  just 
left  the  word  "altar"  off  the  label. 

It  was  at  their  suggestion  that  we  began  the  use  of  the  name 
"The  Christian  Brothers"  as  the  brand  name  on  the  bottle.   I 
believe  the  first  Christian  Brothers  brand  name  on  the  label 
came  into  use  in  1938.   I  believe  we  can  find  the  documentation 
for  that. 

We  began  business  with  what  is  now  Fromm  &  Sichel,  and  sales 
began  throughout  the  New  York  area  in  1938.  We  went  on  for  a 
couple  of  years  selling  to  Alfred  Fromm  the  table  wines  and  the 
dessert  wines  that  we  were  producing.   In  1936,  a  little  while 
before  we  had  met  Alfred  Fromm,  we  had  begun  to  make  a  little 
sherry  here,  and  we  had  begun,  I  believe  in  1935,  doing  some 
fortifications  of  wines  like  port. 

In  those  days  we  were  using  a  little  still  that  we  had  here 
to  make  a  little  high-proof  to  fortify  wines,  and  we  were  also 


39 


Timothy:  buying  some  high-proof  in  wooden  barrels  and  adding  it  to  the 
wine  in  the  fortification  of  wines  like  port  and  muscatel  and 
sherry. 

So  in  1938,  '39,  we  were  selling  table  wines  and  dessert 
wines  to  Alfred  Fromrn.   It  was  in  1940  that  we  began  to  blend 
and  bottle  brandy,  but  very  late  in  the  year,  and  I  believe 
the  first  sales  were  made  probably  in  1941. 

Teiser:   Did  you  continue  to  sell  your  altar  wines  direct? 

Timothy:   Yes.   We  were  selling  altar  wines  even  through  the  Prohibition 
period,  as  you  know,  and  medicinal  wines  too.  There  was  some 
prescription  business  going  on  in  alcoholic  beverages.   In 
drugstores,  without  prescription,  certain  wine  tonics  and  wine 
and  beef  tonics  and  whatnot  were  sold.  I  remember  as  a  boy 
seeing  some  of  these  things  even  displayed  in  drugstores.   I 
don't  know  what  they  use  for  beef  in  a  wine.  There  were  wine 
and  iron  tonics,  and  so  on.   I  believe  there's  still  one  for 
sale  in  drugstores  today.   If  you  ask  for  a  bottle  of  an  iron 
tonic,  you  might  get  a  bottle  of  wine  with  some  sort  of  soluble 
iron  present  in  it.   I  bought  one  bottle  to  try  it  out  about  ten 
years  ago,  and  it  tasted  terrible.   [Laughter]   I  guess  they 
probably  sell  that  kind  of  thing  on  the  theory  that  all  medicine 
tastes  terrible  and  it's  no  good  for  your  health  if  it  doesn't 
taste  bad.   [Laughter]   Some  people  think  that  about  medicine. 
I  hope  they  don't  think  that  about  wine,  which  is  also  good  for 
your  health. 

Teiser:   So  you  reserved  from  the  arrangement  with  Alfred  Fromm  your  altar 
wines  and. . . 

Timothy:  Yes.  When  we  began  that  first  contract  with  Alfred  Fromm,  we 
reserved  the  sacramental  wines  and  have  always  handled  them 
separately.  We  also  reserved  two  states  where  we  had  previously 
developed  some  business,  Washington  and  Montana.  These  two 
states  are  both  what  we  call  liquor  controlled  states,  where  the 
government  itself  is  in  the  alcoholic  beverage  business  where 
they  don't  have  wholesalers.   The  government  of  those  two  states 
then,  instead  of  imposing  some  large  tax  on  the  alcoholic 
beverages,  earns  its  profits  on  the  alcoholic  beverages  by  acting 
as  a  middleman  or  a  distributor.  We  still  operate  today  by 
making  sales  directly  to  Washington  and  Montana,  without  that 
merchandise  being  sold  through  Fromm  &  Sichel. 

Teiser:   Did  Fromm  &  Sichel  offer  you  merchandising  advice? 


40 


Timothy:  Well,  certainly  your  question  is  well  taken.  We  were  not 

doing  very  well  selling  our  products  before  Fromm  &  Sichel  came 
along.   I  think  we  would  have  to  admit  that.  Our  sales  were 
localized  on  the  West  Coast  pretty  much.  Very  minor  sales  were 
made  elsewhere—say,  like  the  sales  that  were  made  in  New  Jersey 
that  I  mentioned  in  our  last  tape.  We  did  have  some  localized 
sales  in  various  other  states.   They  were  not  big  sales  and 
they  were  not  really  enough  to  make  the  winery,  let's  say,  very 
viable. 

I  mentioned  earlier  that  the  Brothers  had  been  praying  for 
Repeal.  Well,  when  Repeal  came,  the  wine  business  seemed  to  be 
a  little  harder  business  to  make  money  in  than  the  Brothers  had 
initially  expected.   I  suppose  the  Brothers  in  those  Prohibition 
years  had  just  thought  that  Brother  Raphael  was  capable  of 
handling  the  winery  and  that  he  was  capable  of  putting  out  any 
amount  of  wine  that  he  had  on  hand,  something  like  that.  And  it 
was  only  after  Brother  John  came  into  the  winery  with  Brother 
Raphael  that  it  was  discovered  that  a  lot  of  the  wine  in  the 
tanks  was  not  really  saleable  right  away.  Things  had  to  be  done 
to  make  it  more  saleable  and  more  attractive  to  the  buyer. 

When  Alfred  Fromm  came  along,  merchandising  was  one  of  our 
serious  weaknesses,  one  of  our  serious  problems,  and  he  and  his 
organization  filled  a  great  need  at  that  time.  Certainly  the 
entire  marketing  field  was  his  specialty  and  something  in  which 
he  was  a  great  expert. 

Teiser:   Did  he  give  you  advice  which  would  change  your  production  in  any 
way? 

Timothy:  Yes,  he  did  give  some  advice  on  that  sort  of  thing,  but  that  was 
a  minor  phase  of  the  relationship.  Alfred  Fromm  would  come  upon 
request,  come  at  any  time  that  we  needed  help  or  any  time  that 
we  wished  him  to  do  so.   He  would  come  and  taste  wines  with  us. 
These  wine  tasting  sessions  were  always  mutually  helpful. 

Teiser:   Have  you  had  help  from  Fromm  &  Sichel  with  the  many  attractive 
folders  you  put  out  about  your  wines  and  the  winery? 

Timothy:  Well,  oh,  yes,  you  might  say  so.   Fromm  &  Sichel  at  least 

supervises  all  of  this  type  of  work,  and  we  have  a  sort  of  a 
censorship  privilege  over  anything  that  they  do  in  the  way  of 
advertising.   Particularly  paid  advertising.   Now  when  you  get 
to  publicity  or  public  relations  work  naturally  there  are  fewer 
controls  that  you  can  exercise. 


Walter  Landor  design 
in  use  from  1961-1967. 


Flie 

winners  of 

the  highest 

total  number 

of  awards  lor 

excellence  at 

the  California 

State  Fair  since 

1955. 


'I  witness  that 
this  wine  was 
PRODUCED  i- 
BOTTLEDoBY 

THE 

CHRISTIAN 
BROTHERS,  a 
Teaching  Order, 
NAPA.  CALIF." 

fcjfcT~«r -»'•" 
Cellarmaster 


the  OhristtanBrothers. 


ALCOHOli  12*  BY  VOLUME- 4/5  )QT. 


before 

serving  to 

bring  out  the 

elegant  aroma 

.of  the  varietal 

grape  which 

give  this  white 

•  wine  its  name. 


suggests  this 


crisp  dry  while 

wine  with  lob- 

'ster,  oysters. 

(.•lams,  shrimp 

and  with  lowl, 

veal  and  cold 

dishes. 


(The)  V 

^  <      v    ..'..:< 

ChristianBrothers*  \ 


VINTNERS  SINCE  1882 


SELECT  NAPA  VALLEY 

PINOT  CHARDONNAY 

An  elcfi.inl  dry  white  dinner  wine  of  rare  Chardonnay  grapes 
Serve  chilled 

PRODUCED  AND  BOTTLED  BY 

THE  CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS  •  NAPA,  CALIFORNIA 

Alcohol  12%  by  volume 


ChristianBrothers* 
PINOT  CHARDONNAY 

/       Here  is  one  of  the  world's  truly  great  white  dinner  \ 
wines.  Made  from  the  rare  Chardonnay  grape,  it  has  a     ^ 
superbly  soft,  mellow  flavor  and  an  exquisite,  subtle 
bouquet.  It  is  a  wine  of  immense  charm  and  finesse. 

Transplanted  from  France,  where  it  makes  the  best 
white  burgundies,  this  noble  grape  ripens  to  perfection 
in  the  ideal  cool  but  sunny  climate  of  our  California 
hillside  vineyards.  We  age  its  wine  slowly,  patiently, 
first  in  small  oak  casks,  then  again  in  this  bottle. 

This  is  a  California  wine  for  a  special  occasion,  to  add 
taste-glamor  to  lighter  meats,  fish,  chicken,  turkey,  lob 
ster,  omelettes,  or  creamed  chicken.  Serve  it  chilled. 

The  Christian  Brothers  are  a  religious  Teaching  Order  founded 
in  France  by  Sainl  Jean  Baptiste  de  la  Salle  in  1680.  To  support  the 
educational  work  of  the  Order's  Western  Province,  our  Brothers 
have  long  made  fine  wines  in  the  centuries-old  monastic  tradition 


j  CflUrmJiler 

V,    Highest  Award  Winners  for  Excellence  of  Quality    t 

FROMM  AND  SICHEL,   INC.  —  SOLE   DISTRIBUTORS—      SAN  FRANCISCO 


Muirson  Label  design  in 
use  from  1967  to  present. 


41 


Teiser:  The  advertisements  for  Christian  Brothers  wines  appear  over 
your  name  and  often  with  your  photograph.  How  and  when  did 
this  custom  originate? 

Timothy:   I  am  inclined  to  think  that  such  ads  were  started  about  1963 
or  later.   The  column  ads  captioned  "Brother  Timothy's  Napa 
Valley  Notebook"  running  over  my  signature  have  been  in  use 
only  about  three  years  or  so. 

Fromm  &  Sichel,  Inc.,  and  also  Botsford  Ketchum,  the  ad 
agency,  can  give  you  greater  detail  on  the  ad  programs.  Mr. 
Walter  Niehoff  is  the  account  executive  at  Botsford  Ketchum. 

Of  course,  as  I  believe  I  have  said,  we  maintain  a  general 
control  over  all  language  and  illustrations  used  in  advertising. 

My  signature  appears  on  a  Walter  Landor  designed  label 
that  we  used  from  1961  to  1967.  And  my  signature  is  on  the  back 
label  designed  by  Mulrson  Label  and  used  by  us  since  1967. 


CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS  BRANDY 


Teiser:   Who  made  the  intial  suggestion  for  the  brandy  production? 

Timothy:   I  think  you  have  to  say  that  the  initial  suggestion  came  from 
Fromm  &  Sichel,  came  from  Alfred  Fromm. 

Teiser:   Do  you  know  how  he  happened  to  think  of  it? 

Timothy:  We  had  had  what  we  called  the  prorate  year--1938  was  the  year 
of  the  grape  prorate.  A  great  big  surplus  of  grapes  had  been 
produced  that  year  and  grape  prices  had  dropped  down  very, 
very  low.  You  can  point  where  $15  a  ton  was  thought  to  be  a 
good  price  for  grapes.   So  grapes  were  so  low  that  the  prorate 
act  was  developed  in  the  state  or  voted  on.  A  kind  of  a  set- 
aside  was  enforced. 

This  set-aside  of  grape  products  was  mostly  done  by  making 
those  products  into  brandy  and  then  setting  that  brandy  aside. 
There  were  large  inventories  throughout  California  of  aging 
brandy,  made  mostly  by  other  wineries.   I  don't  think  we  had  any 
brandy  in  that  prorate  operation.  We  were  not  making  commercial 
brandy  at  that  time. 


42 


Timothy:       In  1938  these  brandies  that  were  set  aside  in  warehouses 
were  put  into  barrels,  just  as  commercial  or  beverage  brandy 
is  aged.  These  brandies  were  getting  better  than  they  had  been 
when  they  were  barreled.  They  were  developing  with  age.   It 
appears  that  there  just  wasn't  much  bottling  of  brandy  going  on. 
There  wasn't  any  well  developed  market  for  brandy.   Some  people 
were  in  the  brandy  business.   I  guess  we  can  name  Fruit  Industries 
with  A.R.  Morrow  brandy,  and  some  others.  A.  Mattei  &  Sons,  I 
think  it  might  have  been  called,  was  in  the  brandy  business  in 
the  Fresno  area.   Beringer  Brothers  I  believe  had  a  brandy  on 
the  market  at  that  time. 

But  just  a  small  number  of  people  had  brandy  labels  on  the 
market,  and  these  brandies  really  weren't  selling  very  well. 
They  were  practically  all  straight  brandies  I  believe,  and 
perhaps  they  tasted  a  little  rough.   They  were  not  as  smooth  and 
soft  as  they  might  have  been. 

The  aging  stocks  of  brandy  were  in  warehouses  throughtout 
the  state.   The  market  was  there  if  the  brandy  was  pleasant  and 
palatable  and  more  readily  saleable  than  other  brandies  already 
on  the  market. 

On  the  suggestion  of  Alfred  Froram  we  began  to  produce  brandy. 
Mostly  by  buying  this  brandy,  and  I  guess  entirely  in  the  first 
year  or  few  years,  by  buying  and  blending  these  brandies.   Then, 
adding  a  little  bit  of  specially  prepared  wine  and  a  little, 
about  one  per  cent,  liquid  invert  sugar  to  give  it  a  tiny  trace 
of  softness  and  mellowness  to  take  a  little  of  the  rough  edges 
off  the  brandy.   Our  brandy,  as  a  rectified  brandy,  is  and 
always  has  been  100  per  cent  brandy  except  for  this  tiny  addition 
of  a  specially  prepared  wine  and  an  invert  sugar  syrup. 

This  addition  to  the  brandy  was  always  less  than  one  and  one 
half  per  cent  of  the  total.  This  was  done  in  a  rectifying  plant 
and  for  a  long  time,  many,  many  years,  we  paid  a  rectifying  tax 
that  was  30<!  a  gallon.  That  rectifying  tax  is  no  longer  on  the 
federal  books,  so  we  are  not  paying  that  tax  now. 

Teiser:   That  did  not  apply  to  straight  or  unblended  brandies,  is  that 
right? 

Timothy:  The  rectifying  tax  did  not  apply  to  those  brandies  that  were 
bottled  straight.  People  who  were  bottling  those  straight 
brandies  saved  30«f  a  gallon. 


43 


Teiser: 
Timothy: 
Teisdr: 
Timothy: 

Teiser: 
Timothy : 
Teiser: 
Timothy: 
Teiser: 

Timothy: 


Teiser: 
Timothy: 


Teiser: 
Timothy: 


Who  worked  out  your  taste  standards? 

For  the  brandy? 

Yes. 

Well,  this  was  done  in  a  cooperative  way  between  Alfred  Fromm 
and  his  organization  and  Christian  Brothers,  principally  Brother 
John. 

You  must  have  tasted  and  tasted  and  tasted. 

Well,  no... 

You  knew  pretty  well  what  you  wanted  to  achieve  in  advance? 

Yes,  yes. 

I  see.   I  remember  tasting  Christian  Brothers  brandy  early, 
maybe  1941,  and  that  it  was  distinctive. 

Yes.  Well,  our  brandy  in  those  early  years  was  generally 
considerably  heavier  than  it  is  today.  We  are  now  making  our 
brandy  almost  as  light  and  neutral  as  we  can.  We  have  been  doing 
this  for,  oh,  about  twenty- five  years.  We  have  felt  that  the 
thing  that  the  public  wanted  was  a  lighter  and  more  palatable 
and  easier  to  take  brandy  than  some  of  the  very  heavy  old  style 
brandies  that  were  around  in  the  market. 

I  see. 

Our  brandy  was  quite  heavy  in  the  early  years  and  it  was  only 
after  we  were  able  to  develop  our  own  distillation  equipment  and 
improve  our  techniques  that  we  were  able  to  make  as  light  a 
brandy  as  we  wished  to  make. 

Did  you  start  making  it  here  and  then  go  to  Mount  Tivy? 

Yes.*  Today  at  Mount  Tivy  we  use  not  only  the  continuous 
distillation  equipment  for  producing  our  brandy  but  we  also 
have  some  pot  stills.  We  are  blending  a  little  pot  still  brandy 


*For  additional  information  on  the  Mount  Tivy  facility,  see 
pp.  46-50. 


44 


Timothy:   in  with  our  continuous  still  brandy  as  a  matter  of  achieving 

character  and  complexity  in  the  brandy,  and  without  detracting 
in  any  way  from  the  lightness  that  we  have  wanted  all  the  time. 


EXPANDING  FACILITIES 


Timothy:  You  know  that  I  started  in  the  wine  business  here  in  1935.  Well, 
it  was  five  years  after  that  before  we  began  to  expand  our 
buildings.   We  had  been  doing  business  with  Alfred  Fromm  for  a 
couple  of  years.  Then  in  1940  we  could  see  the  need  for  some 
additional  fermenting  room  space.  Our  old  fermenting  room  was 
a  very  antiquated  thing  with  open  top  redwood  tanks.  We  built 
some  concrete  fermenting  tanks,  just  eleven  in  number  and  with 
a  total  capacity  of  only  about  55,000  gallons.   But  that  was 
adequate  for  our  needs  at  that  time,  at  least  so  we  thought. 

We  built  this  fermenting  department  in  the  summer  of  1940. 
We  added  some  wine  cellar  space  —  let's  say,  about  208,000  gallons 
of  additional  redwood  wine  tanks—also,  in  the  summer  of  1940. 
We  broke  ground  for  the  building  of  our  rectifying  and  bottling 
unit  for  the  brandy  also  in  1940.  So  1940  was  the  first  year 
of  any  major  construction  after  the  date  that  I  started  at  the 
winery. 

Of  course,  Brother  John  was  in  his  prime  in  those  years. 
He  was  very  vigorous  and  very  capable  in  every  way  of  running 
the  business  and  developing  it.  He  was  the  boss  and  I  was  sort 
of  his  assistant  in  all  the  physical  end  of  the  business:  handling 
the  wines  in  the  wine  cellar,  fermenting  the  wine  in  the  fermenting 
department,  supervising  the  vineyards,  all  that  kind  of  thing. 

In  those  years  I  did  very  little  in  the  office,  and  even 
today  my  time  and  my  job  in  the  office  is  minor. 

In  1941  we  built  a  new  "L"  shaped  building  between  the 
fermenting  room  and  the  old  distillery  and  fortifying  room. 
It  came  around  two  sides  of  the  old  "little  cellar"  which  was 
then  completely  boxed  in.  Redwood  wine  tanks  were  installed, 
totaling  167,037  gallons. 

In  1944  we  made  another  expansion,  and  this  was  the  construc 
tion  of  an  additional  fermenting  room  space.   Both  of  these 
fermenting  room  spaces  I  can  show  you  here  on  the  property  any 


45 


Timothy:   time  we  want  to  walk  around  and  look  at  them. 

In  1944  Mr.  C.E.  Bailey  was  working  for  us.  He  is  now 
working  for  us  at  Mount  Tivy  Winery  at  Reedley.  He  was  here 
on  this  property  at  that  time.   I  guess  I  am  the  principal 
designer  of  the  1940  facility.  Then  in  1944  Mr.  Bailey  and  I 
designed  an  additional  fermenting  room  space.  We  built  closed 
top  concrete  fermenters  at  that  time.  There  are  just  twelve 
fermenters  that  we  built  at  that  time,  with  four  sumps  for 
draining  wine  from  those  fermenters  and  with  six  you  might  call 
storage  tanks,  also  closed  top  concrete  tanks,  that  are  along 
the  wall,  that  we  call  drying  out  tanks,  where  we  put  the  white 
wine  juice  for  the  drying  out,  for  the  fermentation  of  those 
white  wines  while  they  ferment  dry.  They  are  right  in  the 
fermenting  room  area  where  we  can  watch  them  closely  and  we  can 
control  the  temperature,  etc.  Those  were  all  built  in  1944. 

To  gain  greater  capacity  and  modernize  our  bottling 
activities  at  Mont  La  Salle,  we  built  a  completely  new  bottling 
department  and  case  goods  warehouse  in  1953. 

A  source  of  good  Napa  Valley  varietal  grapes  was  secured 
in  1954  from  the  Charles  Forni  family  by  purchase  of  established 
vineyards,  totaling  about  510  acres,  both  south  and  north  of 
St.  Helena. 

At  Mont  La  Salle  we  built  the  present  office  building  and 
a  new  boiler  room  in  1959. 

Additional  Napa  Valley  ranch  properties  were  acquired  from 
the  Rose  White  family  in  1962,  the  William  Wheeler  family  in 
1964  and  from  Phil  Rosenthal  in  1965. 

The  first  winery  building  on  our  South  St.  Helena  property 
was  completed  under  the  supervision  of  Bechtel  and  Company  in 
1965. 

New  cold  room,  new  wine  finishing  or  filtration  area  and 
additional  stainless  steel  wine  storage  tanks  were  housed  in 
a  new  building  in  1969. 

Three  hundred  fifty-three  acres  of  new  Napa  Valley  land 
for  vineyards  was  bought  from  the  Louis  Wurz  family  in  1970. 
The  Hoyt  ranch  of  Frances  C.  Hoyt ,  adjoining  one  of  the  Wurz 
parcels,  added  another  141  acres  to  our  total,  and  an  adjacent 
parcel  of  about  10  acres  was  bought  from  Richard  W.  Scott  in 
1971. 


46 


Timothy:       Nineteen  seventy-two  was  a  busy  year  at  our  South  St. 

Helena  property,  as  we  constructed  a  new  100,000  square  foot 
bottle  aging  and  shipping  warehouse  and  followed  that  with  a  new 
grape  crushing  and  fermenting  area  of  innovative  design.  John 
Hoffman  and  I  worked  together  on  the  planning  and  direction  of 
these  two  construction  projects.  Keith  and  Associates  of  Santa 
Rosa  designed  and  supervised  both  jobs. 

In  1972,  to  assure  ourselves  of  adequate  redwood  wine 
storage  space,  we  bought  the  old  Sunny  St.  Helena  Winery,  a 
cellar  that  we  had  been  renting,  from  Carlo  and  Alfred  Forni. 
True  to  name,  this  winery  is  within  the  city  of  St.  Helena.* 


THE  ACQUISITION  OF  THE  MOUNT  TIVY  WINERY 


Teiser:   When  did  you  acquire  the  Mount  Tivy  facility? 

Timothy:   It  was  in  1945  that  we  acquired  that  property.  Now  in  1945, 
of  course,  being  towards  the  end  of  World  War  II,  with  wine 
sales  being  very  easy  to  make  during  World  War  II,  with  the  wine 
business  being  good  all  through  those  wartime  years,  we  were 
almost  in  danger  of  selling  ourselves  out  of  inventory  with  our 
old  facilities.   So  in  1945,  to  get  both  inventory  and  additional 
facilities,  we  acquired  the  Mount  Tivy  Winery  near  Reedley,  south 
of  Fresno,  from  Seagrams.** 

Brother  John  worked  out  an  arrangement  whereby  we  paid 
for  Mount  Tivy  Winery  by  paying  something  like  15^  per  case.  As 
we  shipped  wine,  we  would  just  set  aside  say  15^  per  case,  I 
think  that  was  the  figure.  We  would  set  aside  a  little  bit  of 
money  to  pay  the  bill,  and  it  was  just  a  matter  of  how  business 
went  as  to  whether  or  not  we'd  be  paid  off  rather  rapidly  or  more 
slowly.  We  had  an  arrangement  that  was,  let's  say,  relatively 
painless  for  the  purchase  of  that  property. 


*The  information  on  expansion  from  1953  through  1972  was  added 
by  Brother  Timothy  in  a  memorandum  in  1973.  See  also  pp.  79-83. 

**For  the  earlier  history  of  the  Mount  Tivy  Winery,  see  Lucius 
Powers,  The  Fresno  Area  and  the  California  Wine  Industry,  a 
Regional  Oral  History  Office  interview  completed  in  1974. 


47 


Teiser:   Was  Fromm  &  Sichel  involved  in  that  purchase? 
Timothy:  Yes. 
Teiser:   I  see. 

Timothy:   This  was  also  the  point  of  time  at  which  the  old  Picker-Linz 
importing  company  went  out  of  business  and  was  reorganized  as 
Fromm  &  Sichel.   So  the  name  Fromm  &  Sichel,  although  I've  used 
it  incorrectly  several  times  in  the  tape,  really  dates  only 
from  that  time. 

I  want  to  say  this,  that  1945  also  marks  the  date  when  we 
got  the  last  of  the  bond  issue  paid  off  that  was  involved  in 
the  construction  of  Mont  La  Salle  novitiate.  The  buildings 
that  you  see  on  the  property  about  a  hundred  yards  south  of  the 
winery  are  Mont  La  Salle  novitiate  and  chapel.  What  was  built 
as  the  junior  novitiate  now  operates  as  St.  Mary's  residence 
school.  This  was  all  built  mainly  in  1931  and  was  built  by  the 
Brothers  floating  a  bond  issue.  This  bond  issue  I  think  was 
initially  in  the  amount  of  about  $385,000.   It  took  us  many  years 
to  get  that  paid  off,  and  it  was  with  Brother  John's  good  manager 
ment  of  the  winery  that  we  were  able  to  pay  that  off.   So  it  keys 
in  approximately  with  the  date  of  purchase  of  the  Mount  Tivy 
Winery. 

Now  at  Mount  Tivy  we  had  an  advantageous  purchase  price  on 
the  property.  And  we  paid  $1.40  per  gallon,  if  I  recall 
correctly,  for  all  the  aged  wine  that  was  there  in  stock.  One 
dollar  and  forty  cents  a  gallon  is  higher  than  the  price  of 
dessert  wines  today.   In  today's  market,  with  our  devalued 
dollar,  they  are  selling  for  less  than  that  figure.  This  will 
give  you  some  idea  of  the  inflation  or  the  pressure  on  the 
supply  of  wine  that  had  occurred  through  the  wartime  years, 
forcing  the  market  on  dessert  wine  up  to  a  figure  of  $1.40  per 
gallon  in  bulk  moved  in  bond  between  wineries.  Of  course,  as 
we  bought  the  winery  we  didn't  have  to  move  it.  The  wine  was 
there  in  the  tanks,  and  $1.40  per  gallon  was  the  price. 

Teiser:   There  was  a  distillery  in  that  place? 

Timothy:  Yes,  there  was  a  sizeable  distillery  as  distilleries  went  in 

those  days.   It  had  been  perfected  by  the  Seagrams  organization, 
and  they  had  done  a  lot  of  experimental  brandy  distilling, 
mainly  with  the  thought  that  if  the  war  lasted  much  longer,  or 
if  the  government  enforced  further  restrictions  on  the  use  of 


48 


Timothy:   grain  in  the  making  of  whisky  (and  there  were  very  serious 
restrictions  on  the  use  of  grain  and  any  foodstuff  in  the 
production  of  whisky),  then  a  distillery  like  Seagrams  would 
have  been  able  to  distill  some  grapes  and  perhaps  other  fruit 
products  to  make  a  kind  of  neutral  brandy,  and  then  to  use  that 
in  stretching  out  their  whisky  stock.  They  had  this  sort  of 
thing  in  mind.   Some  whisky  marketers  did  do  such  blending. 
There  were  even  things  like  date  brandy  that  were  made  by  some 
whisky  operations  as  a  rather  neutral  spirit  and  then  to  be 
blended  into  their  whisky.  Any  neutral  spirit  from  any  source 
can  be  blended  into  a  whisky  without  much  noticeable  change, 
because  the  neutral  spirit  is  quite  light  and  neutral  as  the 
word  "neutral"  indicates.   It  would  be  distilled  at  a  rather 
high  proof,  and  a  certain  amount  of  neutral  spirits  are  blended 
into  many  of  the  whiskies  on  the  market. 

A  thing  like  vodka  that  has  a  current  large  market  and  was 
practically  unknown  in  the  days  that  I'm  talking  about--say, 
about  1945--a  thing  like  vodka  is  just  a  neutral  spirit  you 
might  say  with  practically  no  flavor  from  the  source  material, 
whether  it's  grain  or  potatoes,  or  something  else  in  the  way  of 
a  foodstuff  that  could  be  converted  over  and  fermented  out  to 
make  a  neutral  spirit. 

In  1945  and  1946  at  Mount  Tivy  Winery  we  installed  a  new 
cold  room  and  filtration  area  adjacent  to  an  existing  wine 
cellar.  We  installed  a  bottling  line  and  a  rectifying  room 
complete  with  a  good  number  of  6,000  gallon  stainless  steel 
blending  tanks  and  some  3,000  gallon  stainless  steel  bottling 
tanks.  Necessary  pumps  and  filters  were  also  installed  here. 

A  new  fermenting  building  just  over  one  million  gallons 
capacity,  new  Vulcan  72"  diameter  continuous  still  of  special 
design,  a  new  boiler  room  and  a  new  vacuum  pan  were  all  installed 
in  1947. 

It  was  also  in  1947  that  Mr.  Herman  L.  Archinal  was  hired 
by  Brother  John  to  take  over  as  general  manager  of  our  Mount 
Tivy  Winery.   In  all  the  years  since  then  he  has  been  doing  an 
outstanding  job  for  us. 

In  the  1950 's  and  early  1960 's  near  Mount  Tivy  a  number  of 
ranch  properties  were  bought  to  be  developed  into  vineyards. 
Names  of  some  of  the  previous  owners  were  Iwasaki,  Essegian, 
Nerich,  Alta  Vista,  Celaya,  Shaughnessy,  and  Adams. 


49 


Timothy:       Building  and  equipment  improvements  at  Mount  Tivy  were 
such  as  the  following: 

Fermenting  capacity  doubled  in  1958. 

Fermenting  capacity  further  increased  with  stainless 

steel  tanks  in  1965,  1967,  1969,  1970,  1971  and  1973. 
Brandy  blending  capacity  increased  by  installation  of 

some  new  stainless  steel  tanks  in  1966  and  1973. 
Rectifying  area  and  empty  bottle  warehouse  were  expanded 

in  1959. 
New  finished  case  goods  shipping  warehouse  and  new 

analytical  laboratories  were  built  on  site  of 

oldest  building  originally  on  the  property  in  1965. 
Bottling  lines  were  added  to,  speeded  up  and  otherwise 

up-dated  periodically  through  the  years  in  1955  and 

1973. 
Peralta  Winery  in  Fresno  was  leased  on  a  long-term 

basis  in  1960. 
Bisceglia  Brothers  winery  across  the  street  from  Peralta 

was  bought  in  1964  to  get  additional  wine  and  brandy 

capacity  and  to  broaden  our  area  for  the  purchase 

of  grapes.* 

Teiser:   You  mentioned  that  you  were  making  lighter  brandy.  Has  there 
not  been  a  shift  in  public  taste  towards  lighter  spirits, 
lighter  drinks? 

Timothy:  Yes,  oh,  yes.  This  is  noticeable  and  widely  recognized  in  the 
alcoholic  beverage  industry.   I  believe  it's  true  even  in 
products  like  beer;  the  beers  are  lighter  and  less  bitter  than 
they  used  to  be.  Very  little  hops  are  used  in  the  beer  as 
compared  with  what  was  used  many  years  ago. 

Now  the  whiskies  are  in  that  same  kind  of  a  trend  towards 
lightness.   It  seems  that  this  trend  has  been  going  on  for  many 
years.  We  may  have  been  one  of  the  very  first  in  the  distilled 
spirits  industry  to  recognize  that  sort  of  trend  and  to  work 
towards  it. 

So  that  trend  explains  the  popularity  of  vodka  today  where 
at  the  end  of  World  War  II  bourbon  I  guess  was  the  number  one 


*The  data  on  the  expansion  at  Mount  Tivy  and  in  the  Fresno  area 
since  1945  was  added  by  Brother  Timothy  in  a  memorandum  in  1973. 


50 


Timothy:   distilled  spirit.   I  don't  know  if  bourbon  still  holds  that 
rank  today.   I  don't  follow  the  distilled  spirit  business 
quite  that  closely.   But  I  know  that  bourbon  sales  have  not 
been  growing  at  the  same  rate  as  the  sales  of  such  things  as 
vodka,  gin  and  scotch,  which  are  all  somewhat  lighter  than  the 
bourbon.   Of  course  brandy  fits  in  that  bracket  too.   I  know 
that  brandy  is  lighter  than  bourbon,  and  brandy  sales  have  been 
increasing  at  a  faster  rate  than  bourbon.  This  market  trend 
that  you  mentioned  is  a  very  real  and  well  recognized  thing. 

Teiser:   You're  active  in  the  newly  created  Brandy  Advisory  Board,  are 
you? 

Timothy:  Well,  yes,  we  as  a  company  are,  not  I  personally.   I  have  been 
sitting  on  so  many  committees  of  the  Wine  Institute  and  the 
Wine  Advisory  Board  and  my  time  has  been  so  occupied  that  when 
this  new  Brandy  Advisory  Board  was  being  set  up,  I  suggested  to 
Brother  Frederick  in  our  office  upstairs—he 's  the  assistant 
to  Brother  Gregory,  and  Brother  Gregory  is  of  course  our  president*- 
I  suggested  to  Brother  Frederick  that  it  would  be  good  if  he  would 
sit  in  on  this  Brandy  Advisory  Board,  and  then  I  could  stay  away 
from  those  meetings  and  concentrate  on  the  other  things  that  I'm 
already  involved  in. 


GREYSTONE  CELLARS 


Teiser: 


Timothy: 


The  winery  here  and  the  whole  wine  operation  has  continued  to 
grow  has  it  not? 

Yes,  yes,  very  much  so.   In  1950  we  acquired  the  big  old  stone 
cellar  at  the  north  end  of  St.  Helena  that  was  owned  by  Cresta 
Blanca.  Cresta  Blanca,  of  course,  was  a  subsidiary  of  the 
Schenley  operation  at  that  time.  We  acquired  this  old  stone 
cellar  that  was  at  that  time  called  Cresta  Blanca  Plant  #2; 
previous  to  that  it  had  been  called  Greystone  Cellars,  and  we 
commonly  still  refer  to  that  cellar  as  Greystone.  However,  we 
do  not  have  the  name  Greystone  on  any  signs  in  front  of  the 
building.   So  any  vistor  who  goes  there  would  not  find  it  by 


*Brother  Gregory  resigned  from  the  presidency  September  28,  1971, 
after  having  suffered  a  stroke.   Brother  Frederick  was  elected 
president  on  September  30,  1971. 


_. 


Greystone  Cellars,  November  25,  1890 
Old  distillery  in  foreground. 


51 


Timothy:   looking  for  that  name. 

We  called  that  property  the  Christian  Brothers  Wine  and 
Champagne  Cellar.  We  bought  it  in  1950  and  began  to  develop 
it.  We  had  construction  work  of  one  kind  or  another  to  do  to 
improve  it.  We  fixed  up  a  road  around  the  back  of  it  that  had 
been  unused  for  many,  many  years,  I  guess  all  through  the  years 
of  Prohibition.   During  some  prior  ownership  various  things 
had  been  built  on  this  old  road,  so  we  had  a  few  things  to  move 
and  tear  down  in  the  way  of  water  cooling  towers  or  water 
economizers—whatever  you  want  to  call  them—and  a  big  bottle 
pasteurizer.  We  had  that  to  remove,  or  the  foundations  of  that 
to  remove,  before  we  could  make  a  usable  road. 

This  road  had  been  originally  designed  and  built  around  the 
building,  and  grapes  had  originally  been  unloaded  at  the  back 
and  crushed  in  the  attic  space  up  under  the  roof.   The  building 
is  a  full  three-story  building  with  the  attic  space  making  the 
fourth  story.   It's  a  pretty  tall  building.  This  roadway  that 
goes  around  the  back,  of  course,  has  to  climb  a  ramp  that  runs 
around  one  end  and  then  comes  down  on  the  other  end.  Kind  of  a 
horseshoe  ramp  you  could  call  it.  We  have  it  in  use  today. 

That  old  stone  building  is  about  four  hundred  feet  long  and 
a  little  less  than  a  hundred  feet  wide.   I  mentioned  that  it 
has  three  stories  with  an  attic  space  as  a  fourth  story  built 
in  the  tapering  gables  of  the  roof.  The  wine  capacity  is  close 
to  two  million  gallons.  All  the  casks  to  the  north  end  of  the 
first  two  floors  are  oak,  and  then  to  the  south  end  of  the  first 
floor  and  second  floor  are  redwood  wine  tanks,  mostly  around 
five  thousand  gallons  capacity  each.  The  oak  casks  are  mostly 
about  two  thousand  gallons  capacity  each. 

We  built  our  champagne  department,  starting  in  1954,  in  the 
third  floor  of  that  old  building  where  previous  owners  had  had  a 
bottling  department.   That's  where  our  champagne  department  is 
today.   Champagne  finished  goods  and  champagne  empty  bottles 
and  so  on  are  handled  on  that  third  floor.   But  further  bottle 
aging  of  champagne  ready  to  be  shipped  is  done  at  our  South  St. 
Helena  winery,  that  we  will  get  into  a  little  later.* 


*See  pp.  79-83. 


52 


Timothy:       Now  to  get  into  the  history  of  this  old  Greystone  Cellars, 
as  it  was  called  originally.   It  was  built  in  1888  and  completed 
in  1889  by  a  Mr.  William  Bourn.   (He  has  relatives,  I  believe 
nephews  still  alive  in  this  area,  one  still  living  in  St.  Helena.) 
Before  he  had  it  completed  he  was  short  of  money.   I  believe  it 
opened  as  a  cooperative,  with  the  growers  delivering  grapes  to 
it  without  getting  paid  for  them  and  being  promised  that  when 
sales  were  made  they  would  then  be  paid.   I  believe  the  first 
operation  of  the  winery  and  the  first  crushing,  according  to  old 
photographs  showing  grapes  coming  in,  was  done  in  1889. 

Interestingly,  we  found  two  different  dates  marked  on  the 
building.   Above  the  massive  arched  front  doorway  carved  in 
stone  there's  the  date  1889.   Then  there  was  a  little  brass  plate; 
perhaps  that  was  inscribed  when  the  building  was  first  being 
started.  A  brass  plate,  listing  the  architect  and  the  stone 
mason  and  the  general  contractor  and  people  like  that  involved  in 
construction  of  the  building,  was  mounted  on  the  building  and 
it  said  1888.   So  we  had  the  choice  between  1888  and  1889  as  to 
which  is  the  date  of  construction  of  the  building.  We've  checked 
out  newspaper  clippings  to  find  some  of  these  facts.   As  I  under 
stand  it  from  these  old  newspaper  clippings,  the  building  was 
started  in  1888  and  then  completed  in  1889  in  time  for  crushing 
to  be  done  in  the  fall  of  1889.  We  have  been  told  that  as  many 
as  four  hundred  Chinese  coolies  were  at  work  on  the  building  at 
one  time.   Some  old  photographs  show  the  building  under  construc 
tion  and  are  in  our  possession. 

Carl  Wehr  is  in  charge  of  the  visitors'  program  or  the  tour 
guide  program  at  St.  Helena.  Carl  has  worked  for  us  since  about 
1955  or  1956.   Carl  has  studied  the  history  of  that  old  building 
because  he's  right  there  on  the  premises  and  he  gets  all  the 
questions  about  what  is  what  and  who  is  who,  and  when  was  this 
or  that. 

Mr.  William  Bourn  had  bought  the  property  from  Charles  Krug. 
He  held  the  property  I  believe  only  until  1894.   So  that  would 
be  a  period  of  somewhere  near  six  years.  Then  the  property  of 
about  twenty-four  acres  was  divided  into  two  parts.  A  home  site 
was  on  the  property,  and  that  is  now  owned  by  a  Mr.  [C.A.]  Carpy, 
the  grandson  of  a  Mr.  Carpy  who  was  a  banker  in  San  Francisco  and 
who  became  the  second  owner  of  this  old  Greystone  winery. 


53 


Timothy:      Mr.  Carpy*  took  over  the  winery  in  1894  and  then  either 
right  away  that  same  year  or  within  a  relatively  short  time 
transferred  the  winery  to  California  Wine  Association,  commonly 
called  CWA.  The  same  CWA  that  exists  today  during  the  Prohibition 
years  called  itself  Fruit  Industries.  This  California  Wine 
Association  got  started  I  believe  in  1894.  They  retained  owner 
ship  from  that  time  right  on  into  the  Prohibition  period. 

Teiser:   Let  me  interrupt  you  a  second.  Could  Miss  Harroun  take  a 

picture  of  you?  We  generally  like  to  take  a  picture  of  people 
while  we're  interviewing. 

Timothy:   Sure. 

Mr.  Carpy  transferred  ownership  to  California  Wine 
Association.  They  held  the  building  and  made  wine  there. 
Apparently  they  kept  the  building  in  beautiful  shape.  One  of 
the  things  that  they  did  that  shows  up  in  old  photographs  is 
that  on  a  sloping  embankment  running  along  out  in  front  of  the 
building,  between  where  we  now  have  a  parking  lot  and  where  a 
driveway  space  close  to  the  building  exists,  they  took  a  lot  of 
whitewashed  rocks  and  over  a  spread  of  maybe  two  hundred  feet 
long  or  longer,  and  probably  about  twenty  to  twenty-five  feet  up 
and  down,  they  lettered  with  whitewashed  rocks  the  name  "California 
Wine  Association."  These  rocks  were  very  visible  from  the  roadway 
out  in  front,  and  I  believe  they  planted  ivy  there  between  the 
rocks  and  trimmed  it  away  from  the  rocks,  et  cetera.  A  part  of 
this  big  long  sign  board  laid  out  in  white  rocks  shows  in  an  old 
photograph  that  we  have. 

Bisceglia  Brothers  bought  the  property  and  held  it  through 
the  first  years  immediately  after  Repeal.  However,  I  believe 
they  liquidated.  They  just  couldn't  make  the  place  go.  Perhaps 
too  many  items  of  cooperage,  too  many  casks  and  tanks  to  take 
care  of.   It  was  not  the  kind  of  place  where  you  could  handle 
wine  cheaply.   It's  the  kind  of  place  set  up  for  quality  wine 
and  for  wine  that  sells  at  something  a  bit  higher  in  price  than, 
let's  say,  the  lowest  in  the  market.  So  it  may  be  that  for 
some  reason  like  that  they  just  couldn't  make  it  go,  or  it  may  be 
that  their  marketing  situation  was  rather  inadequate  for  the  size 
and  scale  of  that  building,  to  be  able  to  afford  that  big  old 


*Charles  Carpy  who  became  the  first  president  of  the  California 
Wine  Association. 


54 


Timothy:   building  and  keep  it  running  at  a  profit. 

I  believe  that  they  declared  bankruptcy*and  went  broke 
there  with  that  building  just  a  few  years  after  Repeal.  Some 
people  will  argue  that  Prohibition  caused  the  Depression.  At 
any  rate  the  two  were  concurrent  there,  and  the  first  days  of 
Repeal  were  concurrent  with,  say,  the  last  days  of  the  Depression. 
Now  the  Depression  as  I  have  said  earlier  lingered  on  even  as 
much  as  right  on  up  to  World  War  II. 

The  property  then  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Bank  of 
America  which  was  at  that  time  trying  to  help  out  the  wine 
industry  because  they  had  many  growers  and  many  wineries  that 
were  in  financial  trouble.   In  those  years  the  bank  was 
indirectly  in  the  wine  business.  The  bank  sponsored  what  was 
then  called  Central  California  Wineries,  Incorporated.  This  was 
headquartered  in  Fresno.  Central  California  Wineries  owned  and 
operated  a  winery  at  Kingsburg.   I  think  they  had  four  or  five 
different  wineries  that  were  under  their  control.   So  with  the 
bankruptcy*of  Bisceglia  Brothers  at  Greystone,  the  bank  acquired 
that  property.   Central  California  Wineries,  Incorporated  bought 
it  in  1940  and  set  up  a  bottling  plant  in  the  third  floor  where 
we  now  have  our  champagne  operation.**  They  bottled  wines  under 
the  name  Golan  and  Lango.   I  think  the  one  is  the  backward 
spelling  of  the  other.   [Laughter]  Apparently  their  expert 
winemaker  was  a  Mr.  Golan.*** 

To  illustrate  the  technology  of  the  wine  business  at  that 
time--this  was  during  World  War  II--their  expert  winemakers  set 
up  a  great  big  bottle  pasteurizing  unit  out  in  the  back.   I 
mentioned  a  little  while  earlier  that  we  either  removed  that  or 
we  removed  just  the  foundations  of  it  when  we  went  to  fix  our 
road  around  the  back  of  the  building. 

They  had  a  bottle  pasteurizer  designed  to  handle  the  bottles 
immediately  after  being  filled  with  wine.  And  the  idea  was  that 
they  would  heat  these  bottles  and  then  cool  them  again  and  then 
take  them  back  into  the  winery  for  labeling.   So  the  wine  was 
pasteurized  in  the  bottle. 


•"Bankruptcy  may  be  too  strong  a  word.  Liquidate  or  liquidation 
may  be  substituted."  Brother  Timothy. 

**For  additional  details  of  the  history  of  Greystone  winery,  see 
Appendix  II  and  Appendix  III. 

***Louis  Golan. 


55 


Teiser:   Like  beer. 

Timothy:  Yes.  Other  things  had  been  handled  this  way.   I  guess  perhaps 
some  milk  is  bottle-pasteurized  or  used  to  be.  At  any  rate, 
this  kind  of  operation  wasn't  really  the  best  way  to  handle  wine. 
All  of  us  in  the  California  wine  business  know  better  today,  but 
at  that  time  people  did  not  know  better.   It  cost  a  lot  of  money 
for  that  big  expensive  bottle  pasteurizer.  A  great  big  machine 
for  handling  bottles  and  heating  them  up  and  then  cooling  them 
off  again.  The  wine  gave  quite  a  little  trouble  in  the  bottle, 
I  think,  in  the  way  of  the  clouding  of  the  wine.   So  their 
marketing  was  not  successful.  In  a  couple  of  years  they  had  to 
close  down. 

There  may  be  another  influence  here.   I  don't  know  just 
what  the  timing  was  of  this,  but  I  think  the  federal  government 
stepped  in.*  This  Central  California  Wineries,  Incorporated, 
that  whole  thing,  came  to  an  end  at  that  time.   It  sold  Grey stone 
to  Schenley  or  Cresta  Blanca,  whichever  name  you  want  to  use; 
Schenley  controlled  Cresta  Blanca  in  1942.  That's  how  Cresta 
Blanca  got  it.  Then  later,  in  1950,  we  bought  from  Cresta 
Blanca. 

This  article,  "The  Christian  Brothers  Wine  and  Champagne 
Cellars,"  is  by  Carl  Wehr.**   Carl  Wehr  is  in  charge  of  our 
public  relations  program  in  St.  Helena,  at  the  old  Greystone 
Cellar.  He's  in  charge  of  the  men  that  show  the  visitors  through 
the  winery.  He  has  been  with  us  about  eighteen  years.  He's  a 
retired  Navy  officer.  He's  a  very  competent  man,  and  he  loves 


*In  1942  the  federal  government  threatened  to  indict  the  Bank  of 
America  and  two  affiliated  financial  organizations,  Central 
California  Wineries,  Incorporated,  the  Wine  Institute  and  many 
California  wineries,  and  also  individual  officers  of  all  of  those 
organizations,  charging  combination  ana  conspiracy  to  control 
prices.  See  Burke  H.  Critchfield,  The  California  Wine  Industry 
During  the  Depression,  a  Regional  Oral  History  Office  interview 
completed  in  1972. 

**Appendix  III. 


56 


Timothy:   the  Napa  Valley.  His  wife  at  one  time  worked  for  the  St. 

Helena  Star;  she  researched  a  lot  of  the  old  St.  Helena  Star 
records  at  our  request  to  see  what  she  could  find  about  that 
old  Greystone  winery.  The  St.  Helena  Star  is  an  unusual  small 
town  newspaper  in  that  it  has  been  in  the  same  family,  I  believe, 
ever  since  it  was  founded.  It's  over  a  hundred  years  old  now. 
It  has  operated  only  as  a  weekly,  and  I  believe  that  their  files 
are  absolutely  complete  from  the  first  day  they  started  to  print. 
So  some  of  the  things  I've  got  come  from  there,  and  are  annotated 
pretty  well. 


57 


(Interview  #3  -  August  18,  1971) 


THEODORE  GIER'S  ALBUM 


Teiser:   We've  been  looking  at  another  album.  Would  you  describe  it? 

Timothy:  This  is  an  album  that  I  received  from--!  can't  remember  exactly 
whether  it  was  the  Gier  family  or  whether  it  was  very  close 
friends  of  the  Giers  who  gave  this  to  me.  This  is  an  album 
containing  pictures  of  many  of  the  things  that  Theodore  Gier 
owned  or  was  connected  with  in  his  time  in  the  wine  industry. 
He  was  operating  on  this  property  from  1900  to  1930.  During 
that  time  he  owned  vineyards  both  at  Livermore  and  St.  Helena 
as  well  as  this  property. 

One  of  the  first  pictures  in  this  album  is  of  the  old 
Greystone  cellars  looking  from  the  north,  showing  in  the  fore 
ground  the  old  distillery  building  and  showing  what  were  called 
ricks  of  wood,  firewood,  ready  to  go  into  the  old  wood  burning 
boiler.   It's  marked  on  the  back  1890,  November  25,  St.  Helena. 

A  picture  of  men  posed  on  a  catwalk  or  scaffolding  that 
went  out  to  a  pomace  pile.  The  fermentations  at  that  time  were 
conducted  on  the  third  floor  of  that  old  stone  building.  Then 
a  long  sort  of  scaffolding  went  out  to  what  you  would  call  the 
pomace  pile. 

Teiser:   Did  Gier  actually  have  an  interest  in  that  same  Greystone  winery 
then  through  the  California  Wine  Association? 

Timothy:  Yes,  yes.   I  doubt  if  he  was  a  founding  member,  but  he  was  one 

of  the  members  of  the  California  Wine  Association,  pre-Prohibition. 
Perhaps  his  membership  went  right  on  into  Prohibition  and 
probably  right  on  up  to  1930  at  the  time  we  bought  this  property 
from  him. 


58 


Timothy:       This  album,  then,  shows  various  scenes  in  the  gardens  and 
in  the  vineyards  of  our  Mont  La  Salle  property.  This  roadway 
scene  is  along  a  little  creek  between  our  winery  and  where  our 
novitiate  is  located.  The  little  lake  that  was  on  the  property, 
with  rustic  bridges  from  island  to  island.  An  immense  redwood 
tree  that  looks  about  the  same  today  as  it  shows  in  this 
picture,  with  a  gnarled  old  abnormal  growth  projecting  out  from 
it  as  a  heavy  branch.  Then  other  sort  of  saplings  or  trees 
growing  from  that  branch.  That  exists  in  our  picnic  grove  area 
now.  These  are  old  homes  that  were  on  this  property  at  that 
time,  all  of  which  except  one  still  exist.  This  is  the  one  that 
is  missing. 

Vineyard  scenes.   It  had  to  be  somewhere  prior  to  Prohibi 
tion  that  these  vines  were  planted,  and  this  photograph  shows 
that  they  used  a  phylloxera  resistant  rootstock. 

Teiser:   You  think  these  photographs  were  taken  about  1903,  or  1906? 

Timothy:  Yes.  Right  around  that  time.  The  present  winery  building  is 
here,  and  I'm  sure  that  was  very  new  at  that  time.  And  this 
vineyard  if  I  had  to  define  the  date  a  little  better,  I'd  say 
is  1903,  because  in  a  later  photo  some  other  little  structure 
shows  at  the  back  of  the  winery  that  doesn't  show  in  this 
picture. 

Here's  a  vine  that  looks  like  it  would  be  twenty-five  or 
thirty  years  old;  I  don't  think  I  can  identify  the  variety  from 
this  photo,  but  it's  a  very  heavy  cropping  grape. 

A  vineyard  scene  during  the  harvest  showing  some  ladies 
working  on  the  harvesting  crew  along  with  men.  Then  showing  the 
wagon  stacked  up  with  a  double  row  of  boxes  of  grapes.  Another 
vineyard  harvest  scene;  no  ladies  in  this  picture. 

A  carriage  of  the  type  that  I  guess  Mr.  Gier  would  use  to 
drive  to  Napa,  shown  in  the  front  gate. 

The  property  at  that  time  was  called  by  Mr.  Gier  Sequoia 
Vineyard.  That  name  shows  on  the  old  stone  pillars  that  made 
up  the  ornamental  structure  at  each  side  of  the  gate.   It  looks 
like  this  picture  would  date  from  1903.  Also  the  stone  pillars 
look  brand  new,  and  even  some  loose  rocks  lying  around  would 
perhaps  indicate  that  the  stone  mason  had  just  completed  his 
work  and  had  the  left-over  rocks  just  lying  there. 


JBUHfcfeflKuL-k 
Mont   la   Salle   stone  wine  cellar,   with   little  cellar  at   left,   about   1903. 


Mont  La  Salle  stone  wine  cellar,  interior,  second  floor;  Theodore  flier  second 
from  right. 


59 


Timothy:       This  would  almost  have  to  be  1903.   It  shows  the  stone 

wine  cellar  and  what  we  called  the  "little"  cellar  side-by-side, 
with  about  a  thirty-foot  space  between  them.   It  shows  every 
thing  very  fresh  and  new  looking  and  even  the  roadway  out  in 
front  looks  entirely  new  with,  let's  say,  almost  no  compaction 
due  to  heavy  traffic.* 

This  is  a  Livermore  scene.  Undoubtedly  on  the  vineyard 
property  that  Mr.  Gier  had  there.  It  shows  a  frame  winery 
building,  quite  large,  two  stories,  with  some  vines  showing 
in  the  foreground.  This  is  an  interior  winery  scene  showing 
a  pretty  good-size  hand  operated  wine  press,  four  workmen.** 
Another  press  structure  over  this  way  to  the  right,  so  apparently 
two  different  presses  were  used  in  this  winery  operation. 

This  is  on  the  second  floor  of  this  stone  building  on  this 
property.  Here  is  another  view  of  that  same  floor  showing  one 
of  the  presses  and  the  other  one  off  to  the  side,  and  with 
Theodore  Gier  standing  in  the  photo  wearing  his  moustache  and 
very  formally  dressed  in  his  dark  suit,  with  a  necktie  and  a 
derby  hat.*** 

Teiser:   Were  those  fermenting  tanks? 

Timothy:  Yes.  The  open  top  tanks  of  this  style  constructed  of  redwood 

staves  were  fermenting  tanks.  Now  when  I  started  in  the  winery 
in  1935,  we  had  tanks  just  like  these.  They  may  have  been  exactly 
these  identical  tanks.  We  had  tanks  like  these,  but  in  the  next 
adjoining  room,  not  in  this  area  of  that  second  floor  but  in  kind 
of  an  annex  to  the  second  floor  that  is  cut  back  into  the  hill. 
That  structure  still  exists  but  we  abandoned  the  use  of  these 
open  top  redwood  fermenting  tanks  in  1940  when  we  had  completed 
the  open  top  concrete  tanks  that  I  mentioned  earlier. 

I  believe  this  scene  showing  grapes  being  unloaded  from  a 
wagon  would  come  from  Livermore.   I  don't  think  it's  on  this 
property.  This  scene  showing  a  man  with  a  half  barrel  or  -some 
thing  like  that  —  it  may  be  a  twenty  gallon  barrel—In  his  hand 
standing  in  an  arched  cave  entrance  or  in  one  of  these  wine 
tunnels  cut  back  into  the  hill  through  what  looks  like  solid 
rock.   I  believe  this  scene  might  come  from  Livermore;  it  might 
even  come  from  the  Cresta  Blanca  winery  there  where  they  have 
three  tunnels  more  or  less  like  this  running  back  into  the  hills. 

Theodore  Gier  belonged  to  the  California  Wine  Association 
and  I'm  not  certain  if  Cresta  Blanca  at  that  time  was  a  California 


*  See  photograph  on  preceding  page. 

**  See  photograph  on  page  preceding  page  62. 

***  See  photograph  on  preceding  page. 


60 


Timothy:  Wine  Association  property  or  not.   It's  still  there.   It's  still 
called  Cresta  Blanca.   I  understand  the  cellar  is  empty  now  of 
wine,  and  the  Guild  Wine  Company  recently  bought  out  the  Cresta 
Blanca  label  and  they  bought  all  the  wine  that  was  in  the  wine 
tanks.  They  did  not  buy  the  winery  or  the  vineyards.  The 
property  is  still  owned  by  the  Schenley  interests. 

Now,  this  scene  I  believe  was  also  in  the  Gier  Livermore 
winery  in  that  two-story  frame  building  that  we  were  talking 
about  a  while  ago.   It  shows  hand  presses  of  about  the  same 
style  as  the  one  hand  press  that  we  saw  in  our  Mont  La  Salle 
picture. 

This  shows  three  hand  presses  here-   It  shows  a  man  with 
another  press  of  a  different  style.   It  looks  like  it's  con 
structed  with  something  like  a  big  railroad  jack  as  the  pressing 
mechanism.  You  see  the  man  with  that  lever? 

Teiser:   Yes. 

Timothy:  It  looks  like  he  would  move  that  straight  up  and  down.   So  it 
looks  like  four  presses  in  that  picture. 

Teiser:   This  was  not  the  old  Cresta  Blanca  winery? 

Timothy:  This  was  a  separate  winery  that  would  have  been  owned  by  Gier. 
At  least  I  believe  this.   I'm  not  absolutely  certain  of  this. 
I  know  where  the  old  vineyard  existed.  Very  close  to  Pleasanton. 
So  although  Mr.  Gier  used  the  name  Livermore  on  labels  as  the 
address,  I  think  this  vineyard  was  near  Plaasanton,  rather  than 
close  to  Livermore.   It  was  on  the  road  between  the  two  places. 
The  road  is  called  Vineyard  Avenue.   I  don't  know  if  the  road  got 
its  name  from  Theodore  Gier's  vineyard  or  from  the  Ruby  Hill 
vineyard  that  lays  along  that  same  avenue.  The  Ruby  Hill  vineyard 
of  course  is  somewhat  closer  to  Livermore  than  the  property  that 
I'm  talking  about.   I  believe  that  Fleasanton  has  grown  enough 
that  it's  either  within  the  city  limits  or  right  on  the  edge  of 
Pleasanton  now. 

Teiser:   I  see. 

Timothy:  Another  winery  scene  that  looks  like  it  comes  from  that  frame 

winery  building  at  Livermore,*  showing  two  wine  presses.  Well, 


*See  p.  59. 


61 


Timothy:   showing  one  wine  press  really,  but  two  press  baskets  and  showing 
a  little  hand  wine  pump  off  to  the  side.  Hand  operated  with  a 
wooden  handle  up  here.  Some  of  the  people  in  the  industry  used 
to  call  those  "Armstrong"  pumps.  You  had  strong  arms  when  you 
had  to  pump  on  one  of  those  hand  pumps  for  a  while.   [Laughter] 

This  is  a  scene  that  looks  to  me  like  it  comes  from  wine 
tunnels  at  the  Cresta  Blanca  plant  at  Livermore,  or  perhaps  some 
other  wine  tunnels  elsewhere.  A  man  stands  in  the  picture. 
There  is  one  row  of  barrels  to  each  side.  These  are  puncheons 
probably  about  150  to  200  gallons  apiece.  One  row  to  each  side 
of  the  central  alleyway  of  this  wine  tunnel  and  then  that  row 
is  double  stacked,  two  high. 

Here  is  a  fancy  carved  wine  cask.  Probably  about  600  to 
700  gallons  capacity.   It  has  some  lettering  on  it  but  I  can't 
read  it.   By  golly,  it  has  what  looks  like  a  date.   It  looks 
like  a  photographer  inscribed  the  date  in  the  photo.   It  has  a 
S  10-19.   I  think  this  means  September  10,  1919,  is  probably 
the  date.  Now  that  would  be  almost  the  date  that  Prohibition 
took  effect. 

The  cask  at  the  top  of  this  ornamental  cask  has  the  name 
David  Woerner  very  plainly  marked.  David  Woerner  was  a  cooper 
in  San  Francisco.*  I  understand  that  one  of  his  relatives  is 
still  living  in  San  Francisco.  We  had  a  little  correspondence 
with  the  lady,  I  guess  a  granddaughter. 

This  is  a  wine  tunnel  again.  Probebly  also  at  Cresta  Blanca 
at  Livermore  - -that 's  the  way  it  appears  to  me—showing  the  bottle 
aging  of  wine  in  bins  on  the  left  of  the  photo  and  a  little 
railroad  track  arrangement  that  looks  like  it  was  portable.  A 
little  cart  on  it  with  a  couple  of  men  that  look  like  they're 
associated  with  the  cart  and  one  sitting  on  it.  Then  a  couple 
of  other  men  on  each  side  that  probably  were  also  working  on  the 
project  of  stacking  bottles  into  place.  One  of  these  men  has  a 
little  wooden  box  full  of  bottles  apparently  ready  to  stack  in 
one  of  these  tiers  of  bottles  for  bottle  aging  of  wine.  These 
stacks  look  like  they're  about  four  feet  deep  from  bottom  to  top, 
and  then  this  would  be  a  solid  shelf  or  platform  running  through 
the  middle,  and  then  the  stock  goes  up  another  tier.   So  it  looks 
like  about  two  four-foot  tiers  of  bottles  running  up  the  whole 


*Cask  markings:  David  Woerner,  N.W.  Cor.,  Main  &  Harrison  Sts., 
S.F. 


. 


MONT  LA  SALLE 


Rear  view  of  main  stone  cellar,  with  addition  in  foreground.   Photograph  made 
some  time  prior  to  1919. 


* 


Main  stone  cellar,  interior,  second  floor,  some  time  prior  to 


62 


Timothy:   thing.   It's  kind  of  a  structure  like  a  cabinet  with  no  doors  or 
facing  on  it.  Then  to  the  right  of  this  picture  there  are  some 
casks.   It  looks  like  they  range  from  about  ten  gallons  or 
fifteen  gallons  on  up  to  about  150  gallons  in  size.  They're  in 
a  couple  of  racks,  or  a  two-tiered  rack. 

Here's  a  picture  showing  the  back  of  the  wine  cellar  here 
at  Mont  La  Salle  in  Theordore  Gier's  time,  taken  about  1906  I 
believe,  and  showing  a  rather  fancy  additional  structure.  It 
even  has  a  little  chimney  projecting  up  through  the  roof.  This 
additional  structure  was  put  on  the  back  or  the  uphill  side  of 
the  old  stone  wine  cellar,  probably  about  or  between  1903  and 
1906. 

I  think  this  picture  would  quite  likely  date  from  1906. 
It  shows  a  lot  of  people  rather  fancily  dressed  standing  around 
in  the  vineyard,  looking  like  they  are  posing  for  the  picture. 
Nobody  looks  like  they're  working,  [laughter]  so  it's  not  a 
harvest  scene,  but  it's  intended  to  look  something  like  a 
harvest  scene.   Everybody  is  in  their  Sunday  clothes.   Probably 
a  picnic  party  or  something  like  that,  and  the  photographer 
wanted  to  get  a  good  shot.* 

Here's  a  little  book  that  comes  from  Theodore  Gier's  time. 
I  don't  know  if  we  can  find  the  date  in  it.   It's  a  little 
promotional  piece  printed  by  the  Stanley  Taylor  Company  of  San 
Francisco.   It's  kind  of  a  chamber  of  commerce  piece.  This 
would  undoubtedly  have  to  be  prior  to  Prohibition.  The  central 
fold  paper,  a  very  long  photo  running  across  two  pages,  shows 
the  vineyard  of  Mont  La  Salle  here  in  Gier's  time  with  the 
winery  appearing  over  in  this  corner.   It  looks  like  it  was 
retouched  to  some  degree.  We  have  the  same  shot  dated  1906, 
framed  under  glass  and  hanging  in  our  laboratory  upstairs.   It 
has  a  couple  of  inserts  in  the  corners,  of  some  of  the  other 
photos  that  are  in  this  album. 

In  this  little  book  promoting  just  everything  about  the 
beauty  and  the  healthfulness  and  the  commerce  of  the  Napa  Valley 
it  shows  a  picture  of  Greystone,  the  largest  stone  wine  cellar 
in  the  world.  At  least  it  was  claimed  to  be  in  those  days. 

I  might  mention  while  I'm  talking  about  this  subject  that 
we  have  somewhere  in  our  archives  a  copy  of  a  geography  book  that 
was  used  in  the  public  schools  of  California  in  1919.   It  shows 
a  picture  of  the  old  Greystone  winery  and  it  says  largest  stone 
wine  cellar  in  the  world,  and  so  apparently  it  was  accepted. 


*  See  photograph  on  preceding  page. 


63 


Timothy:  Perhaps  they  meant  the  largest  stone  wine  cellar  in  the  world 
all  under  one  roof.   I  say  that  because  I've  heard  of  wineries 
in  Europe  large  enough  that  railroad  trains  would  run  right 
into  the  winery  for  loading  purposes,  and  run  out  the  other 
side. 

Then  here's  an  envelope  full  of  old  Gier  photos.   I  don't 
know  if  we  should  go  through  all  of  them.  Now  this  one  showing 
an  elk- -the  next  neighboring  ranch  to  this  Mont  La  Salle  property 
was  called  Elk  Park  ranch;  most  of  it  is  now  owned  by  us.  We 
bought  it,  expanded  our  property. 

Teiser:   Which  direction  from  this  property? 

Timothy:  This  is  to  the  north  of  our  original  Mont  La  Salle  property. 
The  people  who  owned  this  property  (the  name  was  Marx)  called 
it  Elk  Park  because  they  had  built  a  very  high  fence  and  put 
elks  inside  that  fence. 

Now  Mr.  Justus  Benkiser,  our  vineyard  foreman,  was  born  in 
Napa.  His  mother  was  a  girl  who  had  been  brought  over  from 
Germany  to  be  the  maid  or  a  servant  in  this  Marx  family  home  on 
the  Elk  Park  property.  Then  Mr.  August  Benkiser,  Justus 
Benkiser 's  father,  met  her  and  later  married  her.  Justus 
Benkiser  had  taken  over  the  job  of  vineyard  foreman  here  from 
his  father.  His  father  and  he  have  been  the  only  vineyard 
foremen  on  this  property  since  about  1914.   So  the  Benkisers 
have  a  very  ancient  and  honorable  history  in  this  area. 

This  is  one  of  the  garden  plantings  showing  the  formal 
garden  near  where  they  had  the  principal  home  on  the  property. 
The  garden  still  exists  but  it's  in  the  area  that  we  don't  use 
very  much  nowadays.  The  garden  hasn't  been  taken  care  of  in 
recent  years,  the  way  it  was  carefully  manicured  in  those  old 
days  when  the  Giers  lived  on  the  property.   I  understand  from 
Mr.  August  Benkiser,  who  has  passed  away,  that  Theodore  Gier  at 
one  time  employed  six  gardeners  on  the  property  just  to  take 
care  of  the  ornamental  gardens.  This  is  in  addition  to  the 
field  crew  who  worked  in  the  vineyards. 

Here's  a  picture  in  what  we  called  "the  picnic  grove"  and 
it's  not  identified  on  the  back,  but  the  redwood  trees  are 
existing  today,  and  this  large  redwood  tree  with  rather  abnormal 
branch  growing  off  to  the  side  is  identifiable. 

Now  this  photograph  would  have  been  considerably  later. 
Ivy  has  grown  up  on  the  walls  of  this  old  stone  winery  building 


WNEYARDS 
llVERMORE 

NAPA  AND 
ST. HELENA 


ZINFANDEL 


SEQUOIA   RESORT 

(COL.  THEO.  GIER'S  VINEYARD! 

. 

UNDER   THI    MANAOIMINT  OF 
OR.  CHAS.   M.  TROPPMANN  FRANK    J.   GORDON  CARL    TROPPMANN 


A  SPOT  PICTURESQUE,  IDEALLY  LOCATED 
IN  THE  NAPA  VALLEY 


PHONE  NAPA  i4Fii 


NAPA.   CALIFORNIA 

PO*T  orPICI  BOX  1«0 


154  SPECIES  OF  TREES  ON  THE  GROUNDS 

THIS  well-known  Rnort.  property  oi  Col.  Theo.  Gier,  of  O.U.nd,  u  uiu.icd  in  one  of  the  mo«  raouK 
mounwin  wnsci  of  N»p«  County,  tit'ni  miles  norAwwl  of  ihe  city  of  N«p*.  wilh  in  tlntuoV  of  800  («». 
Beautiful  iiirtounclinei.      Two  ipringt  on  ihe  groundi.     The  wilet  of  one  hu  been  pronounced  by  Prof.  E. 
W.  Hiljud.  Univcriily  of  C«Iifotni«.  one  of  the  puie«t  »nd  6n«  drinking  w»len  in  this  lUle.     Th«  olSei,  ibt 
•Francis  Sulphur  Sprinj..1  «ft«  in  .n.lyiii  by  Prof.  Ceo.  E.  Colby.  College  of  Agriculture.  UnivemW  of 
California.  wa»  found    to  contain  Sodium  Sulphate   12.3.  Sodium  Chloride  28.S,  Magneiium  and   Calcium 
Carbonate*   1 0.0.  etc.,  etc..  per  milli,  an  Exceptionally  Efficaciaui  Afxritnl.     Daily  mail  lervice. 
Orchard  and  vineyard.    Large  poultry  yard.    Shady  walki.    La ke>  and  boating.     Dance  pavilion,  iwinji. 
croquet  and  lawn  tennu  ground*,  lhu01«board,  batht,  etc. 
Rate*  from  $10.00  per  week  up.      Children  under  8  years  $5.00  per  Week 

Round.  Trip  to  Napa,  Southern  Pacific  via  Valleio J?.00 

Round  Trip  to  Napa  by  Monlicello  Sleanuhip  Co.,  good  for  30  dayi         .        .          SI. 50 
Staae    will   meet    gueiK  upon   rcqueit    (phone  or  write.)     $1.00  Round  Trip  to  Retort.  I    1-2  houn  anv* 
from  Napa:  by  automobile  30  minute*.     Fine  roada. 

BEST  TABLE  IN  STATE.      EXCELLENT  SERVICE 
Dean  Room>.     Own  Dairy.      Penonal  Attention  to  All  Cuetu.     TenU,  Collagea,  Roomt 

SPECIAL  RATES  FOR  FAMILIES  AND  WEEK-END  PARTIES 

Notify    bv    Phon-  Auloniohil.   Accamn.aJ.tion.  OPEN    ALL   YEAR   ROUND 


64 


Timothy:   until  the  ivy  is  now  touching  the  eaves  in  this  photo.   I  think 
this  photo  would  date  about  1919  or  1920  or  some  time  in  the 
twenties.  Grass  grows  up  out  in  front  of  the  winery.  This 
would  look  like  a  Prohibition  scene  when  there  was  little 
activity  around  the  winery  and  the  ivy  was  growing  rather 
untended  up  the  wall. 

The  entrance  gate  showing  the  old  wrought  iron  gates  as 
well  as  the  stone  gate  posts. 

Teiser:   "Sequoia  Vineyard"  on  the  sign. 

Timothy:  Yes.   "Theo.  Gier"  was  the  way  he  normally  wrote  his  name.  He 
didn't  bother  to  spell  out  Theodore.  And  the  Roman  numerals 
MCMIII  meaning  1903. 

A  vineyard  scene  marked  on  the  back  "taken  from  prune  orchard." 
So  there  was  some  prune  orchard  on  the  property.  This  prune 
orchard  existed  right  on  up  to  about  the  time  of  World  War  II, 
perhaps  even  a  little  bit  later.  The  prune  orchard  was  high  up 
on  the  hill,  so  this  view  shows  the  vineyards  looking  down  from 
high  on  the  hill. 

Looking  again  at  the  album,  another  shot  showing  the 
fountain  in  the  lake.  This  is  marked  on  the  back,  "Lotus  lily 
pond  opposite  lake  at  foot  of  picnic  ground."  Well,  there 
were  actually  two  ponds.  This  was  a  rather  circular  smaller 
pond  and  they  called  it  lotus  lily  pond.  And  then  the  other 
they  called  the  lake.  The  two  ran  together,  but  there  was  a 
pathway  running  between  the  two.  This  one  was  a  circular  little 
lake  with  a  fountain  sprinkling  water  out  in  the  middle  of  it, 
whereas  the  larger  one  didn't  have  a  fountain  in  it. 

The  stone  gate  posts  again  with  the  wrought  iron  gates 
hanging  in  place.  Things  look  quite  a  little  different  today; 
we  moved  one  of  these  posts  and  relocates  it  to  make  the  road 
wider,  about  1940  or  perhaps  a  little  bit  earlier.  The  one 
shown  here  to  the  right,  that  would  be  to  the  south  side  of  the 
road,  was  not  moved.   It  stayed  in  the  original  position. 

In  the  same  album  we  next  come  to  a  large  photo  mounted  on 
cardboard.   It  is  marked  on  the  back  "Merchants  Exchange  of 
Oakland,  guests  of  Mr.  Gier."*  And  Mr.  Gier  shows  in  a  light 


*Theodore  Gier  was  an  organizer  of  the  Merchants  Exchange  and 
served  as  its  president  several  years. 


65 


Timothy:   colored  suit.  An  X  is  marked  under  his  foot  on  the  photo. 

He  has  a  kind  of  soft  western  style  hat  under  his  arm.   Some 
of  these  men  are  wearing  badges  and  I  think  that  Mr.  [Sophus] 
Federspiel  probably  is  here  in  the  photo.  Now,  Federspiel  was 
one  of  the  great  old  gentlemen  of  the  early  days  of  the  wine 
business  of  California.   I  don't  think  I  ever  had  the  pleasure 
of  knowing  him  but  I  knew  two  of  his  sons. 

Here's  another  photo  also  mounted  on  some  kind  of  cardboard. 
This  shows  men  a  little  more  formally  dressed.  Now  Theodore 
Gier  shows  in  this  photo  as  a  very  handsome  gentleman,  with  his 
moustache  and  his  hair  parted  about  in  the  middle.  He  is  holding 
in  his  hand  a  soft  light  colored  grey  western  style  hat.   Some  of 
the  men  are  wearing  derbys.  One  is  wearing  a  kind  of  homburg  hat. 

Another  photo  mounted  on  cardboard,  and  it's  inscribed  on 
the  back  "Path  down  to  lake  from  house."  It  shows  some  girls 
and  a  couple  of  men.  Kind  of  a  picnic  scene.   I  guess  that  was 
what  they  would  call  informal  posing  in  the  old  days  when  that 
photo  was  taken.   [Laughter]   It's  rather  arty. 

A  page  out  of  the  Oakland  Inquirer,  Monday  evening,  June 
27,  1904,  showing  Alameda  County's  exhibit.  Under  a  photo  that 
is  in  the  story  it  is  inscribed  "Alameda  County  World  Fair  exhibit, 
Commissioners  Gier  and  Wilby,  Creator  Webb  and  Pierce,  and  a 
young  lady  demonstrator  in  the  foreground."  [Laughter]  They 
didn't  bother  to  identify  the  young  lady.   [Laughter] 

Here  mounted  on  cardboard  is  a  photo  of  some  sort  of  an 
exhibit  with  the  word  "Giersberg"  on  an  attractive  sign  over  a 
photo  taken  in  the  vineyards  here  at  Mont  La  Salle,  Theodore 
Gier's  vineyards  at  that  time.  And  showing  a  couple  of  the 
wood  boxes  in  which  he  shipped  his  wines  in  those  days.  They 
are  very  attractively  inscribed—probably  branded  on  the  ends 
of  the  boxes—with  his  name  "Theo.  Gier,  Oakland,  California." 
"Burgundy"  is  the  word  on  one  of  these  boxes.  And  in  the 
center  of  each  of  these  boxes  a  set  of  ornamental  initials  shows 
"T.G." 

Teiser:   Why  Oakland? 

Timothy:  Well,  Mr.  Gier  first  got  started  in  the  wine  business,  I  guess 
after  establishing  himself  in  the  grocery  trade  in  Oakland. 
In  one  of  his  old  clippings  I  understand  that  he  ran  for  mayor 
of  Oakland  at  one  time  too.   I  guess  he  was  defeated. 


66 


Timothy:       He  had  a  grocery  store  and  a  wine  shop  associated  with  it. 
Then  later  had  two  outlets  in  Oakland.   I  kind  of  think  that 
perhaps  he  had  a  third  one  in  San  Francisco  too.  We  have  an 
old  wagon  on  the  property,  a  kind  of  delivery  wagon,  that  used 
to  have  his  name  on  the  side  of  it  until  someone  repainted  it. 
It  was  used  for  delivering  wine  and  groceries  and  that  kind  of 
thing  around  Oakland.   It  has  only  three  wheels  now  instead  of 
four.  That's  the  end  of  that  album. 


CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS  CHAMPAGNE 


Teiser:   I  think  you  mentioned  the  changes  you  made  at  the  Greystone 
cellars  to  install  your  champagne  equipment.  How  did  you 
happen  to  decide  to  go  into  champagne  making? 

Timothy:  Well,  as  you  grow  in  size,  you  get  more  and  more  requests  for  a 
complete  line.   "If  you  don't  have  a  champagne  to  sell  me  I'm 
going  to  buy  somebody  else's."  A  retail  store  or  a  restaurant 
has  to  have  something  to  sell.   So  there's  always  some  pressure 
from  the  trade  or  from  your  own  distribution  firm  to  give  them 
a  more  complete  line.  There  was  some  pressure  like  this  on  us 
for  a  number  of  years.  Well,  when  we  had  our  hands  full  and 
our  buildings  rather  fully  occupied,  we  would  defer  that  kind 
of  decision.  Once  we  had  acquired  the  Greystone  cellars  in  1950, 
we  had  some  available  floor  space,  and  additional  wine  cooperage 
for  the  aging  of  wine.  When  you  have  that  facility,  then  you're 
able  to  do  something  more.   So  we  finally  decided  to  get  into 
the  champagne  business  to  satisfy  that  sort  of  market  demand. 

We  made  our  initial  steps  in  the  preparation  of  our 
facilities  for  the  champagne  in  1950. 

Teiser:   How  did  you  make  the  decision  about  which  process  to  use? 

Timothy:  We  made  that  decision  in  conjunction  with  our  Mr.  Auguste  Pirio, 
our  champagne  maker,  the  man  on  the  job  right  now.  Well,  I  guess 
you  would  have  to  say  that  we  had  made  a  decision  even  a  little 
bit  earlier.  We  had  in  1954,  perhaps  early  in  the  year,  hired 
a  Mr.  Joseph  Allegretti  as  our  champagne  maker.  We  had  made  the 
decision  with  him  to  use  the  Charmat  process  as  the  process  that 
was  more  efficient,  that  allowed  us  better  temperature  control 
than  was  normally  the  case  with  bottle-fermented  champagne,  that 
would  allow  us  to  avoid  variable  fermentations  that  might  occur 
in  bottle-fermented  champagne.  One  bottle  might  ferment  at  a 


67 


Timothy:   faster  rate  than  another.   It  might  have  a  little  different 
taste  than  another.   It  might  have  a  different  sugar  level 
than  another  when  the  fermentation  was  finished. 

So  this  was  a  matter  of  doing  things  more  efficiently, 
in  the  more  modern  and  more  scientific  way,  in  a  manner  that 
would  allow  greater  uniformity  and  reliability  of  products;  a 
greater  clarity  of  the  products  too  in  that  Charmat  process 
champagne  can  readily  be  filtered,  where  champagne  fermented 
in  the  bottle  was  not  filtered.  We  had  a  number  of  understood 
benefits  to  be  gained  by  going  to  Charmat  process.   I  mention 
the  word  efficiency.  Well,  this  efficiency  would  also  enable 
us  to  have  a  lower  price  on  Charmat  process  champagne  than  if 
we  had  gone  with  bottle-fermented  champagne.   So  we  felt  that 
the  product  would  be  better  as  well  as  less  expensive,  and  we 
could  therefore  offer  maximum  value  to  our  customers.  This  is 
before  we  had  learned  anything  about  a  transfer  star  being 
available  anywhere  in  the  industry. 

The  transfer  star  operation  with  bottle-fermented  champagne 
in  more  recent  years  has  enabled  the  people  who  are  bottle- 
fermenting  champagne  to  gain  some  of  the  benefits  of  both  the 
bottle  fermented  process  and  the  Charmat  process.  They  have  a 
hybrid  process,  you  might  say,  if  they're  using  a  transfer  star. 
This  allows  them  to  get  the  higher  price  associated  with  bottle- 
fermented  champagne  and  still  to  enjoy  some  of  the  scientific 
and  technical  benefits  of  the  Charmat  process.   But  we  made  our 
decision  to  go  with  the  Charmat  process  before  there  was  any 
transfer  star  in  use  in  the  wine  industry  in  California. 

This  Mr.  Joseph  Allegretti,  who  had  started  work  for  us 
and  who  was  in  favor  of  the  Charmat  process,  had  come  to  us 
from  Italian  Swiss  Colony  at  Asti.  He  had  a  little  knowledge 
of  the  Charmat  process  there  and  he  brought  along  with  him 
another  man,  Gus  Tedeschi,  who  had  been  a  co-worker  with  him  at 
Italian  Swiss  Colony  at  Asti,  who  had  more  intimate  knowledge 
of  the  Charmat  process.   So  really  the  two  of  these  men  came  to 
us  at  the  same  time. 

Now  then,  however,  Mr.  Allegretti  had  a  heart  condition 
that  we  didn't  know  about.  Either  he  didn't  want  to  talk  about 
it  or  he  didn't  want  to  admit  to  himself  that  he  had  it  or 
whatever,  and  I  believe  before  he  had  worked  for  us  for  even 
one  full  year  he  passed  away  very  suddenly  at  his  home  of  a 
heart  attack. 


68 


Timothy:      We  didn't  have  our  champagne  operations  set  up  yet.  The 

very  day  that  he  died  he  and  I  had  been  in  San  Francisco  and  in 
the  East  Bay  to  order  up  according  to  our  specifications  some 
Charmat  process  tanks  and  also  a  stainless  steel  champagne 
filter  that  we  had  drawn  up  to  our  own  specifications.  He  and 
I  worked  together  on  the  engineering  or  the  design  of  these 
two  units.   That  was  the  last  thing  we  did  on  the  day  that  he 
died;  he  and  I  together  had  gone  to  the  people  in  Richmond  who 
manufactured  our  first  eight  one  thousand  gallon  Charmat  process 
champagne  tanks.  Then  we  had  gone  from  there  to  San  Francisco 
to  order  a  Hercules  stainless  steel  filter  that  could  handle  our 
champagne  and  was  equipped  with  a  by-pass  plate  in  the  center  of 
it  or  at  whatever  point  we  wanted  to  place  it,  where  we  could 
get  two  filtration  jobs  done  in  one  pass  through  the  filter. 

Now  this  was  the  first  time  we  had  heard  of  anybody  in 
the  wine  industry  in  California  utilizing  a  by-pass  plate  like 
this,  so  we  thought  this  was  advanced  technique,  and  it  did 
enable  us  to  produce  a  brilliantly  clear  champagne  and  to  do  it 
in  the  one  pass  through  the  filters,  so  that  the  amount  of 
agitation  of  the  champagne  would  be  at  a  minimum.  We're  still 
using  that  very  same  principle  today,  although  we  have  recently 
bought  a  new  filter  and  we  are  not  using  that  old  filter  any 
longer.  However,  we  did  use  it  right  up  until  the  past  year. 
It  was  1955  when  we  got  started,  so  that  would  be  approximately 
sixteen  years  that  we  used  that  Hercules  filter,  and  we  have  just 
retired  it  from  service  during  this  past  year. 

Teiser:   Did  others  in  the  industry  adopt  that  technique? 

Timothy:  Well,  they  were  very  impressed  when  they  looked  through  our 

champagne  operations.   In  the  first  ten  years  of  the  operation 
of  our  Charmat  process,  with  our  filter,  the  way  we  had  set  it 
up  with  the  bottle  filling  machine  that  we  had  imported  from 
Germany  for  the  work,  all  the  people  in  the  champagne  industry 
in  California  who  came  to  view  our  operations  were  very  impressed 
with  what  we  were  doing.  Many  of  them  went  home  and  copied  some 
of  our  ideas.  One  or  more  of  our  ideas  that  happened  to  fit 
into  their  programs. 

Another  thing  that  may  have  been  a  first  in  the  industry 
at  that  time:  most  Charmat  process  champagne  operations  up  to 
that  time  had  been  using  a  kind  of  a  brine  solution  as  a  chilling 
material  to  go  through  the  double  jacket  of  the  tank.  Whenever 
any  valve  would  drip  and  leak  a  little  bit,  this  brine  would 
cause  the  corrosion  of  the  valves  and  iron  pipes.  A  lot  of  rusting 


69 


Timothy:  would  take  place.  When  we  were  getting  the  tanks  and  our 
refrigeration  equipment  installed,  we  began  to  think  of 
whether  there  was  some  other  way  of  improving  the  situation. 
This  brine  not  only  caused  the  pipes  to  corrode  and  give  some 
trouble  there,  but  it  seemed  to  be  very  hard  on  the  insulation 
too.  Good  insulation  is  needed  on  anything  that  is  chilled  like 
this.  At  that  time  block  cork  was  the  insulation  used  and  it 
was  cemented  in  place.   But  brine  would  tend  to  make  this  insula 
tion  material  come  loose. 

The  thought  came  to  me  that  propylene  glycol  (a  sort  of 
permanent  anti- freeze  that  you  might  put  in  the  radiator  of  your 
car  in  the  winter  time)  in  a  water  solution  would  be  an  advanta 
geous  thing.   I  believe  we  were  the  first  in  the  Charmat  process 
industry  in  California  and  perhaps  in  the  world  to  begin  to 
utilize  propylene  glycol  solution  as  a  refrigerant  fluid.   It 
is  in  common  use  in  the  California  wine  industry  now.   It  is  a 
better  material  than  brine  by  far.  The  first  cost  is  higher, 
but  then  it's  rather  permanent.  You  don't  have  to  let  it  leak 
away  or  disappear,  and  it  won't  evaporate.  Once  you've  invested 
in  the  solution,  why,  you  have  it  for  a  long  time. 


CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS  WINES  AND  VINEYARDS 


Teiser:   You  have  produced  some  wines  here  not  duplicated  by  other 
wineries? 

Timothy:  Yes.  Not  very  many.  Our  Chateau  La  Sal.le  is  a  wine  that  we 
developed  and  brought  to  its  present  state  of  quality.  Very 
few  if  any  others  in  the  industry  have  been  able  to  produce  a 
wine  like  this.  It  has  a  lot  of  flavor.   It  has  good  keeping 
qualities.   It's  only  12  per  cent  alcohol  but  it  has  a  lot  of 
residual  grape  sugar.  When  we  began  to  experiment  with  this 
wine  about  sixteen  or  seventeen  years  ago  or  a  little  more, 
Brother  John  told  us  that  we  were  fooling  around  with  a  Tojo 
bomb.   (This  was  not  very  long  after  the  Japanese  defeat  out 
in  the  Pacific  and  Tojo  was  one  of  the  great  old  Japanese 
generals.  That's  why  Brother  John  used  that  expression.)  He 
had  the  thought  that  we  would  not  be  able  to  make  that  wine 
stable  and  that  we  would  not  be  able  to  keep  it  from  exploding 
bottles.  However,  with  sterile  filtration  which  had  come  into 
the  picture  some  time  around  1950  or  maybe  earlier,  we  were  able 
to  filter  the  yeast  cells  out  of  the  wine,  practically  all  of 


70 


Timothy:  them,  so  that  to  this  day  we've  never  had  that  much  fermentation 
ever  get  organized  in  a  bottle  of  Chateau  La  Salle  that  it  would 
cause  the  bottle  to  explode. 

Now  we  have  always  used  a  metal  cap  on  the  Chateau  La 
Salle.  We've  never  used  the  long  dry  wine  cork  in  that  wine, 
thinking  that  the  cap  with  the  proper  liner  inside  it  was  a 
more  nearly  hermetic  seal  than  the  natural  cork.  But  we  do  use 
the  natural  cork  in  all  of  our  table  wines  other  than  the  Chateau 
La  Salle,  which  we  might  say  is  kind  of  a  specialty  item.  You 
could  call  it  a  light  dessert  wine  or  you  could  call  it  a  sweet 
table  wine.   It  is  on  the  order  of  a  very  sweet  haut  sauterne, 
or  a  very  sweet  Chateau  type  sauterne. 

We  have  a  Pinot  St.  George  produced  of  Pinot  St.  George 
grapes  grown  on  this  property. 

Teiser:   Are  you  the  only  bottlers  of  that? 

Timothy:   I  believe  we  were  at  least  until  a  little  while  ago.  There  may 
be  somebody  else  on  the  market  now,  but  I  can't  think  who  it  is. 
There  are  not  many  people  that  are  growing  this  grape,  and  of 
course  grown  on  these  volcanic  hillsides  of  our  place  right  here, 
it  produces  a  very  high  quality.  Perhaps  higher  than  the 
University  of  California  would  rate  it  if  we  can  judge  from  the 
books  like  Dr.  [A.J.]  Winkler's  General  Viticulture. 

This  book,  and  also  the  old  Hilgardia  about  grape  quality, 
do  not  rate  the  Pinot  St.  George  as  a  very  high  quality  grape. 
They  rate  it  lower  let's  say  than  Pinot  Noir  in  quality.  However, 
we  feel  that  it  produces  a  very  high  quality  wine  when  grown  on 
these  hills  right  here. 

I  might  say  in  passing  that  these  grapes  were  planted  by 
Theodore  Gier  and  were  here  when  we  moved  on  to  this  property. 
The  name  that  we  were  told  Theodore  Gier  used  for  this  grape 
was  "Petit  Pinot."  The  name  Pinot  St.  George  was  not  used  at 
that  time.  We  had  Dr.  [Harold  P.]  Olmo  and  others  look  at  the 
grape  and  help  us  to  determine  that  it  was  Pinot  St.  George. 
Since  that  time  we  have  planted  more  of  it.   So  we  have  more 
extensive  plantings  on  the  property  than  Theodore  Gier  had.   But 
even  to  this  date  we're  growing  all  of  our  Pinot  St.  George  just 
on  this  property  and  nowhere  else. 

Teiser:   Is  your  Pineau  de  la  Loire  unique? 


71 


Timothy:  Yes.  This  wine  we  put  on  the  market  only  a  little  over  a  year 
ago.  Now  it  happened  that  we  had  a  wine  on  the  market  already 
called  Chenin  blanc.  We  used  the  Chenin  blanc  grape  in  this 
wine  that  we  called  Pineau  de  la  Loire,  but  we  wanted  to  make 
this  wine  different  than  our  Chenin  blanc.  We  knew  we  could  and 
we  knew  it  would  be  a  very  interesting  wine.  By  a  very  long 
cold  fermentation  and  by  sterile  filtration  we  were  able  to 
produce  this  wine  with  a  pretty  fair  level  of  residual  grape 
sugar,  with  a  lot  of  fruitiness  in  flavor,  from  the  Chenin 
blanc  grape. 

Since  we  had  Chenin  blanc  as  a  wine  already  on  the  market 
and  we  didn't  want  to  withdraw  that,  we  searched  our  minds  as 
to  what  we  would  call  this  wine.  And  since  the  Chenin  blanc 
grape  in  some  parts  of  France  is  called  Pineau  de  la  Loire,  we 
thought,  well,  it's  a  secondary  name  of  the  very  same  grape,  so 
both  will  be  varietals  if  we  utilized  the  two  grape  names  of 
the  one  grape  variety.  The  two  wines  will  taste  enough  different 
that  nobody  could  mistake  the  one  for  the  other. 

I  don't  know  if  we're  the  only  ones  in  the  industry  with 
two  labels  and  two  names  for  two  differant  wines  produced  out  of 
the  very  same  grape.   But  at  least  that  happens  to  be  the 
situation  with  our  Pineau  de  la  Loire  and  our  Chenin  blanc. 

Teiser:   Do  you  have  other  wines  that  are  quite  distinctively  yours... 

Timothy:  Well,  I  don't  think  you  can  find  any  other  wines  in  our  list 
that  are  distinctively  ours.   I  can  name  a  couple  others  that 
are  very  high  quality  and  that  we're  very  proud  of  in  the  dessert 
wines.  Our  Meloso  Cream  Sherry  and  our  Tinta  Cream  Port  are  two 
items  that  fit  the  description.  They  are  outstanding  for  their 
quality.  We  have  others.  Our  Cabernet  Sauvignon  is  very  good 
Our  Pinot  Noir  is  extremely  good.  Our  Johannisberg  Riesling  and 
our  Sauvignon  blanc  are  extremely  good. 

Well,  I  guess  right  there  I've  named  almost  all  of  the  ones 
that  I  consider,  myself,  to  be  near  the  top  of  our  quality  range. 

Teiser:   Do  you  rely  largely  on  your  own  plantings,  or  do  you  rely  more 
upon  purchased  grapes,  or  how  does  it  fall? 

Timothy:  Well,  it  can  vary  with  each  different  wine.   But  in  the  over-all 
picture,  we  have  to  buy  more  grapes  than  we  grow.  Our  business 
has  grown  to  that  point  that  the  grapes  we  grow  ourselves  on  our 
own  property  are  in  the  minority  of  those  grapes  that  we  crush. 


Timothy: 


Teiser: 


Timothy: 


72 


This  is  more  so  in  the  Reedley  area,  where  we  buy  mostly 
Thompson  Seedless  for  our  brandy.  We  need  a  neutral  tasting 
grape  with  very  little,  if  any,  volatile  component  to  go  over 
in  the  stills  and  get  into  the  brandy.  Thompson  Seedless  is 
an  ideal  neutral  tasting  grape  to  utilize  in  our  brandy.   It 
has  no  seeds,  so  there's  no  problem  of  a  grape  seed  or  raisin 
seed  oil.  There's  no  problem  whatsoever  with  Thompson  Seedless 
as  a  brandy  grape. 

So  brandy,  in  that  it's  a  large  part  of  our  business  and 
in  that  one  ton  of  grapes  makes  only  a  small  amount  of  brandy, 
the  Thompson  Seedless  grape  then  is  naturally  the  one  of  which 
we  have  to  buy  the  most  tonnage.  We  don't  grow  much  Thompson 
Seedless. 

With  the  other  grapes  that  we  buy  we  have  to  buy  more 
grapes  of  a  given  variety  than  we  can  grow.  Only  a  few  grapes 
are  in  the  category  where  we  would  grow  more  than  we  are  required 
to  buy. 


This  is  another  subject: 
is  unionized  completely? 


Concurrently,  I  believe,  your  labor 


Yes.   In  the  vineyards  we  have  been  in  the  union  for  about  three 
years.  All  the  physical  work  out  in  the  vineyards  is  done  by 
union  people.  Planting  vines,  picking  grapes,  driving  tractors- 
all  this  kind  of  thing.  We  have  some  supervisory  personnel, 
monthly  salaried  and  so  on,  but  pretty  much  according  to  the 
terms  of  the  union  contract.  They  are  not  allowed  to  do  very 
much  physical  work  out  in  that  vineyard.   It's  pretty  much  a 
matter  of  every  bit  of  physical  work  done  in  our  own  vineyards 
is  done  by  union  labor.  This  union  is  the  Cesar  Chavez  United 
Farm  Workers  Organizing  Committee,  later  changed  to  United  Farm 
Workers  Union.* 

We  have  been  union  for  more  than  twenty-five  years  in  all 
of  our  winery  operations,  and  this  again  applies  to  all  the 
people  who  work  on  an  hourly  payroll  and  do  physical  work  like 
the  moving  of  the  wine  from  one  tank  to  another,  filtering  wine 
and  clarifying  wine,  bottling  wine.  We  have  both  men  and  women 
in  the  winery  and  distillery  workers'  union. 


Teiser:   Do  many  of  the  Brothers  work  in  the  winery? 


*Later  (1973)  changed  to  United  Farm  Workers  of  America. 


73 


Timothy:  There  are  only  four  of  us  Christian  Brothers  involved  full  time 
in  the  wine  and  brandy  business,  though  there  are  thousands  of 
Brothers  throughout  the  world. 


OTHER  RELIGIOUS  ORGANIZATIONS  THAT  MAKE  WINE 


Teiser:   Would  you  tell  a  little  about  other  religious  organizations 
that  are  involved  in  making  wine? 

Timothy:  Yes.   I  know  very  little  about  the  several  other  operations  by 
other  religious  orders  in  the  wine  industry  of  California.   But 
I  think  I  can  say  for  the  record  that  the  Jesuits  are  engaged 
in  the  wine  business,  mostly  in  the  sacramental  wine  business, 
with  their  headquarters  for  their  wine  business  being  located  at 
Los  Gatos,  California.*  The  Assumption  Abbey  wine  operation, 
with  their  winery  operations  being  at  Guasti,  California.   I 
think  you  probably  have  that  on  Philo  Biane's  tape.** 

Teiser:   I  keep  hearing  about  Brotherhood  winery  of  New  York. 

Timothy:  Oh.   In  New  York  there  is  a  company  just  called  Brotherhood, 

but  it  has  no  connection  with  any  religious  organization  as  far 
as  I  know.  Apparently  if  two  brothers  get  together  and  if  they 
want  to  call  a  winery  "Brotherhood  Winery,"  they  can  do  it. 

Now  there  may  be  other  religious  organizations  in  the  wine 
business  in  the  United  States.   I  have  heard  of  a  group  at 
Conesus,  New  York.   It  is  called  0-Neh-Da.   I  believe  it  is  a 
church  based  operation.   I  don't  know  if  it  is  the  Fathers  of 
the  Society  of  the  Divine  Word,  who  use  the  initials  S.V.D., 
or  just  which  order  it  is.   I've  never  visited  the  area.   I  have 
visited  the  Novitiate  Winery,  and  I  have  visited  the  winery  at 
Gua&ti  where  Assumption  Abbey  wines  are  produced. 


*Novitiate  winery. 

**See  Philo  Biane,  Wine  Making  in  Southern  California,  an 
interview  by  the  Regional  Oral  History  Office  completed  in  1972. 


74 


THE  CALIFORNIA  WINE  INDUSTRY 


Teiser:   Does  Fromm  &  Sichel  have  an  affiliation  with  the  Paul  Masson 
winery? 

Timothy:  No.  Fronnn  &  Sichel  officially  doesn't  have  an  affiliation  with 
Paul  Masson.  However  there  is  a  kind  of  relationship  there  in 
that  Seagram  owns  stock  in  Fromm  &  Sichel,  and  Seagram  also 
owns  Paul  Masson  completely.  But  there  is  supposed  to  be  no 
direct  connection  between  Fromm  &  Sichel  and  Paul  Masson. 

Teiser:   So  you  don't  feel  that  your  winery  is  in  any  special  relation 
ship  with  the  Paul  Masson  winery? 

Timothy:  We  and  the  salesmen  who  work  for  Fromm  &  Sichel  selling  our 

products  quite  often  feel  that  we're  in  direct  competition  with 
Paul  Masson.  There's  no  animosity  or  anything  like  that,  but 
then  by  the  same  token  there's  really  no  animosity  between  us 
and  any  other  winery  operator  anywhere  in  the  states. 

On  that  subject  I  could  say  that  with  the  Wine  Institute 
as  one  of  these  cohesive  influences  and  the  Wine  Advisory 
Board  as  another  and  the  University  of  California  as  a  third 
influence  in  this  direction—the  wine  industry  of  California 
has  a  rather  good  compatibility  between  one  winery  and  another. 
We  don't  have  to  my  knowledge  any  animosity  or  serious  feuds 
in  the  wine  industry  of  California.  Even  those  competitors 
that  are  competing  most  vigorously  in  the  market  place,  the 
winery  operators  get  along  very  well  with  each  other.  Now, 
perhaps  I  should  say  it  this  way:   that  if  there  is  any  kind  of 
conflict  or  if  there's  any  kind  of  a  feud--if  you  want  to  use 
a  strong  word  like  that--maybe  it's  in  the  marketing.  Maybe 
it's  among  salesmen. 

Teiser:   I've  been  told  that  one  of  the  factors  in  that  harmony  in  the 

industry  is  that  you  are  one  of  the  people  who  at  meetings,  when 
people  disagree,  are  able  to  bring  them  together  —  that  this  is 
a  special  talent  of  yours. 

Timothy:  Well,  I  don't  know  if  I  have  much  of  that  talent.   I  guess  I 

have  a  little  of  that.  But  it  seems  to  m<2  that  the  three  factors 
that  I  mentioned  have  this  great  tendency  to  bring  the  techno 
logical  people  of  the  industry  and  also  the  management  people 
of  the  wine  industry  together  in  a  kind  of  a  harmonious  way.   In 
a  way  of  all  working  together  for  the  common  good.   I  don't  know 


75 


Timothy:  whether  you  would  rate  these  three  influences  that  I'm  talking 

about  in  the  order  that  I  gave  it  or  whether  you  should  give  the 
University  of  California  the  number  one  position  and  then  put 
Wine  Institute  and  Wine  Advisory  Board  in  either  of  the  number 
two  or  three  positions.   I  don't  want  to  rate  it  one  way  or  the 
other  like  that. 

There  are  many  other  things  that  could  be  said .   I  know 
that  you  have  interviewed  people  at  the  University  of  California 
at  Davis.  There's  a  marvelous  and  endless  amount  of  information 
that  you  can  get  from  the  University  of  California  at  Davis  as 
to  all  the  things  that  they  have  done  over  the  years  for  the 
improvement  of  the  condition  of  California  grape  growers  and 
California  wine  producers.  The  technology  of  wine  and  the  tech 
nology  of  grapes  too  is  a  great  and  complicated  science.  The 
art  of  wine  making  is  the  other  thing  that  each  individual  wine 
producer  has  to  have  somewhere  at  his  command.   But  both  the 
art  and  the  science  of  wine  have  to  go  together  and  have  to  be 
evaluated  each  on  its  own. 

Teiser:   You  yourself  have  served  on  many  industry  committees... 

Timothy:   I  don't  think  I  can  name  from  memory  all  the  different  committees 
that  I  either  am  serving  on  or  have  served  on  in  Wine  Institute 
and  in  Wine  Advisory  Board.  But  I'm  on  at  least  a  half  dozen 
committees  and  more.   I  might  reiterate  what  I  have  indicated 
before:   that  I  believe  this  is  valuable  and  important  work  and 
that  both  Wine  Institute  and  the  Wine  Advisory  Board  are  doing 
things  every  day  that  are  solidly  based  and  good  for  the  entire 
wine  industry  of  California.   So  it's  for  such  reasons  that  I'm 
willing  to  serve  on  those  committees  and  to  spend  time  at  that 
job  and  to  contribute  whatever  I  can  contribute  to  the  work  of 
both  Wine  Institute  and  Wine  Advisory  Board. 

Teiser:   I  think  we  have  covered  most  of  the  subjects  I  had  listed  to  ask 
you  about.  Do  you  have  anything  further  to  add? 

Timothy:   If  you  will  permit  me,  let  me  add  a  couple  of  items. 
Teiser:   Fine. 

Timothy:  As  you  know,  my  name  is  Brother  Timothy  and  my  namesake  or  patron 
is  St.  Timothy.  He's  the  one  that  Paul  wrote  to,  saying  "Take 
a  little  wine  for  thy  stomach's  sake  and  thine  often  infirmities." 
So  I  like  that  quotation.   It's  one  of  my  favorite  quotations 
about  wine. 


76 


Timothy:       A  second  favorite  quotation  that  I  use  quite  often  is  the 
observation  of  Benjamin  Franklin  that  "wine  is  a  constant 
proof  that  God  loves  us  and  loves  to  see  us  happy." 


77 


(Interview  #4  -  May  16,  1973) 


GRACE  AND  THANKSGIVING  PRAYERS 


Timothy:  Here  are  a  few  prayers ,* grace  before  meals  and  thanksgiving 

after  meals.   I  have  originated  all  of  them  myself,  and  I  think 
it  might  be  interesting  to  tell  you  about  them. 

You  know,  in  any  operation  like  our  business,  you'll  have 
large  gatherings  once  in  a  while,  and  somebody  may  or  may  not 
get  up  and  say  a  grace  or  ask  a  blessing  on  the  food  you're 
going  to  eat.  Now,  we  happen  to  be  a  Catholic  organization  and 
a  religious  organization,  and  we're  in  the  wine  business,  and 
we're  doing  business  with,  say,  Fromm  &  Sichel.  Their  general 
background  is  in  the  Jewish  tradition.  Now,  any  time  that  some 
one  of  the  Brothers  would  say  the  regular  traditional  Catholic 
grace,  it  kind  of  bothered  me  that  here  we're  doing  this  in  the 
presence  of,  say,  Alfred  Fromm  or  some  other  man  of  the  Jewish 
faith,  rather  than  the  Catholic  faith.   It  just  bothered  me  that 
our  grace  wasn't  a  little  bit  more  ecumenical. 

So  when  Pope  John  was  on  the  job  as  the  Pope,  and  the  Church 
was  getting  more  ecumenical  in  its  general  spirit,  it  happened 
that  I  was  watching  a  western  on  TV  one  time  (and  I  just  don't 
have  time  to  do  much  of  this),  but  one  of  the  old  characters  in 
this  western  was  Walter  Brennan.  He  was  the  father  of  this  family, 
and  the  group  got  together,  you  know,  ir  a  rough  ranch  house, 
and  they  stood  at  the  table,  and  he  said  something  like,  "Bless 
this  grub,  oh  Lord,  and  us  that  eats  it.  Amen."  [Laughter] 
That  was  the  whole  thing. 

So,  when  I  heard  that  I  thought,  "Well,  by  golly,  that 
really  does  cover  the  essentials,  even  chough  it's  in  very  few 
words.   It  covers  the  essentials  of  what  a  grace  or  a  blessing 
of  food  ought  to  be.  Well  that's  pretty  good."  So,  once  in  a 
while  after  that,  when  I  was  called  upon  to  say  grace,  I  said 
it  in  a  very  brief  form  like  that,  and  I  called  it  the  "Cowboy 


*Appendix  V. 


78 


Timothy:  Grace,"  you  know.   [Laughter]  Then  I  decided  to  let  it  evolve 
in  my  mind,  you  know,  and  after  a  little  while  I  called  it  a 
"Grape  Stompers'  Grace."  [Laughter] 

And  at  one  time,  for  one  of  our  little  old  parties,  why  I 
aaid  something  like  this  and  called  it  the  "Grape  Stompers' 
Grace"--"Bless  this  bread  and  wine,  0  Lord  and  all  of  us  who 
eat  and  drink  together."  That  was  the  whole  thing.  Then,  at 
other  dates,  I've  delivered  a  blessing,  say,  like  this:   "0  great 
God,  creator  of  a  universe  so  immense  that  our  most  brilliant 
scientists,  capable  of  sending  men  to  the  moon  and  bringing  them 
back  home  again,  are  unable  to  measure  its  extent.  You  are  the 
same  God  who  made  the  microscopic  yeast  cells  that  convert  grape 
juice  into  wine.   Benjamin  Franklin,  while  wondering  about  the 
mysterious  process  of  fermentation,  once  said:   'Wine... a 
constant  proof  that  God  loves  us  and  loves  to  see  us  happy. '  We 
ask  You  0  God  to  bless  us  and  the  foods  and  wines  we  are  about 
to  enjoy." 

Now,  on  that  same  occasion,  I  delivered  a  thanksgiving  after 
the  meal,  and  it  went  something  like  this:   "In  Your  solicitude 
for  us,  0  God,  You  have  made  it  possible  for  farmers,  fishermen 
and  others  to  bring  to  our  dining  table  a  perennial  supply  of 
foods  and  beverages.  The  miracle  of  the  loaves  and  fishes  is 
repeated  every  day.  We  thank  Thee,  0  God,  for  this  bounty  and 
ask  You  to  look  with  love  on  farmers,  fishermen,  and  all  of  us." 
And  then,  I  let  it  go  at  that. 

Now,  each  time  I  do  one  of  these  blessings  before  a  meal, 
I  do  it  kind  of  ad  lib;  I  never  read  it  off  like  I'm  reading 
from  these  papers  right  now- -but  I  give  it  a  little  thought 
beforehand,  and  so  on.  And  on  another  occasion,  for  a  harvest 
luncheon  we  had  at  Ernie's  restaurant  in  San  Francisco,  October 
23,  1969,  I  gave  the  blessing  before  the  meal  like  this:   I  said, 
"0,  great  God  of  the  universe,  who  created  stars,  moon,  sun,  and 
planets  and  set  them  on  their  immense  but  precise  paths,  You  are 
the  same  God  who  created  the  microscopic  yeast  cells  and  placed 
them  on  the  skins  of  ripening  grapes,  so  that  when  crushed,  the 
sweet  grape  juice  comes  in  contact  with  uhese  living  yeast  cells 
and  they  ferment  the  grape  sugars  into  grape  alcohol,  changing  what 
was  grape  juice  Into  wine.  We  ask  You*  0  God,  to  bless  us  and  to. 
bless  the  fine  foods  and  wines  that  You  have  made  available  to  us 
and  which  we  are  about  to  share  with  each  other.  Amen." 

All  of  those  are  original,  all  of  those  have  that  ecumenical 
spirit.  We're  not  trying  to  divide  up  the  one  God  for  a  lot  of 


79 


Timothy:  different  religious  denominations.  We're  sticking  with  the 

thought  that  there  is  one  God  and  only  one,  and  all  of  us  who 
worship  God  do  worship  that  same  God. 


THE  SOUTH  ST.  HELENA  COMPLEX 


Teiser: 


Timothy: 


Would  you  add  something  about  recent  progress  at  the  South  St. 
Helena  winery? 

We  have,  oh,  about  half  completed  the  South  St.  Helena  develop 
ment.  We  were  very  busy  constructing  a  ?.ot  of  new  work  there 
last  year,  and  we  still  haven't  really  finished  up  every  little 
tag  end  of  the  things  that  were  under  construction  mainly  last 
year.*  We  built  a  large  warehouse,  100,000  square  feet,  had 
it  completed  last  year.  We  built  a  new  fermenting  area  addition-- 

Teiser:   You  had  not  been  making  wine  there  before? 

Timothy:  Well,  we  had  a  little  crusher  out  in  the  back.  We  had  crushed 
some  grapes  there,  as  a  convenience  mostly  to  the  grower;  we 
could  receive  the  grapes  and  crush  them  there,  and  we  were 
crushing  directly  into  a  tank  truck  and  then  moving  the  tank 
truck  over  to  Mont  La  Salle  here.  We  were  doing  something  like 
that  for  two  years  prior  to  1972,  but  we  didn't  actually  have 
fermenting  tanks  and  a  fermenting  department  there. 

In  '72  we  installed  a  new  scale,  we  built  a  new  fermenting 
department,  we  put  in  a  couple  of  crushers,  one  of  which  is  a 
second-hand  one,  one  of  which  is  new.  We  put  in  about  seventy 
brand  new  stainless  steel  fermenting  tanks,  we  put  in  two  new 
presses.  We're  now  still  installing  two  new  vacuum  filters  in 
that  complex. 

That  fermenting  area  has  been  rather  thoroughly  covered  in 
print,  in  newspapers  and  a  few  of  the  wine  industry  trade  journals, 
and  it's  quite  an  unusual  kind  of  a  thing.   It's  a  sort  of  radial 
complex,  or  you  could  call  it  a  star,  or  let's  say  a  daisy—a 
flower  with  the  petals  projecting  out.   It  has  a  pattern  that 
radiates  from  a  central  point  where  the  presses  are,  and  it's 
designed  this  way  so  that  all  the  conveyors  that  carry  the  solids, 


*See  p.  46. 


80 


Timothy:   the  grape  pomace  or  grape  pulp,  from  the  fermenting  tanks  go 

straight  to  the  presses.  We  don't  have  to  have  a  lot  of  turns 
or  right  hand  angles  in  conveyors  taking  this  pomace  to  the  press. 
It  also  simplifies  the  supervision  of  the  fermenting  area.  The 
one  man  in  charge  can  be  on  a  kind  of  a  central  platform  that 
we  built  there,  and  he  can  see  down  each  alleyway  or  each  space 
between  the  tanks.  He  can  see  right  down  through  the  fermenting 
area.  All  he  has  to  do  is  turn  his  head  a  little  bit  or  rotate 
his  body  around,  and  he  can  see  every  man  working  in  the  place. 
He  can  see  the  crushers  from  where  he  is,  and  so  on.  He  has 
an  electrical  control  panel  there,  where  he's  pretty  much  in 
control  of  anything  and  everything  that  is  going  on.   It's  a  new 
concept.  We  don't  know  of  any  fermenting  area  ever  built  like 
this  anywhere  before.   It  lends  itself  well  to  the  supervision 
of  the  quality  of  the  wine,  or  quality  control  if  you  like  that 
language  better.  Half  of  this  fermenting  area  is  connected  to 
a  water  cooling  tower  that  will  maintain  fermenting  red  wine  at 
72  degrees  Fahrenheit,  and  we  want  to  hold  the  red  wine  very 
close  to  that  point  for  what  we  think  is  optimum  development 
of  flavor  and  quality. 

The  white  wine  half  of  that  fermenting  area  is  all  connected 
with  mechanical  refrigeration  and  with  cooling  jackets  around 
the  stainless  steel  tanks.  The  cooling  jackets  and  the  whole 
wall  of  the  stainless  steel  white  wine  fermenters  is  covered  with 
polyurethane  insulation.   So  for  all  the  white  wine  tanks  we  have 
the  capability  of  maintaining  the  temperature  down  below  50  degrees 
Fahrenheit.  We  want  to  have  those  white  wine  fermentations  quite 
cold,  and  then  we  will  retain  full  flavor  and  freshness  and 
fruitiness  of  the  white  wines  this  way.  We  think  the  optimum 
temperature  is  a  little  below  50,  but  the  optimum  for  the  red 
wines  is  around  72. 

I  have  some  newspaper  clippings  that  have  to  do  with  this 
South  St.  Helena  complex.* 


*"Phase  One  At  Christian  Brothers  Hearing  Completion,"  Napa 
Register.  May  4,  1972;  "Christian  Brothers  Build  New  Fermenting, 
Crushing  Plant,"  Napa  Register.  June  22,  1972;  "Phase  Two  Expan 
sion  Receives  First  Grapes,"  Napa  Register.  Sept.  13,  1972;  and 
"Phases  1  and  2  of  Multi-Million  Dollar  Expansion  Completed  at 
Christian  Brothers,"  St.  Helena  Star.  November  9,  1972. 


81 


Teiser: 


Timothy: 


Teiser: 


Timothy: 


What  relationship  now  does  that  operation  have  to  this? 
you  shifting  any  functions  from  here  to  there? 


Are 


Yes,  we  are.  This  property  has  never  had  a  railroad  siding, 
and  it  does  not  have  a  railroad  siding  now.   So  one  of  the 
basic  considerations  when  we  first  decided  on  that  spot  was 
that  we  had  to  be  on  a  railroad  siding  for  the  shipping  of  our 
case  goods.   Since  on  this  property,  Mont  La  Salle,  up  in  these 
hills,  shipping  is  the  kind  of  problem  that  it  is,  we  decided 
a  long  time  ago  that  we  would  be  better  off  to  have  our  bottling 
department  and  our  case  shipping  somewhere  else. 

Well,  the  bottling  department  is  still  here.  It's  still 
working  upstairs  on  third  floor  elevation  of  this  property.   But 
the  bottle  aging  of  the  wine,  after  the  wine  is  in  the  bottle 
and  in  the  carton--!  believe  we  might  be  the  very  first  in  the 
industry  to  have  come  up  with  the  thought  of  putting  the  wine  in 
the  bottles  and  putting  those  bottles  in  the  carton  ready  to 
ship,  but  then  putting  those  cartons  on  pallets  and  using  a 
fork  lift  truck  to  stack  them  in  a  warehouse  and  do  the  bottle 
aging  of  the  wine  in  such  a  warehouse  situation,  with  the  wine 
all  being  enclosed  in  the  shipping  carton  already.   I  don't 
think  anybody  else  did  this  before  we  started  it  at  Mont  La 
Salle  in  1952  or  earlier. 

The  old  bottle  aging  used  to  be  in  terms  of  what  they  call 
"binning."  The  bottles  would  individually  be  placed  in  bins, 
and  then  those  bottles  would  be  removed  from  those  bins  after 
the  wine  had  been  bottle  aged.*  The  bottles  might  need  to  be 
polished  up  a  little  bit  to  get  the  dust  off  them,  and  then 
labels  would  be  applied  at  that  time,  and  then  they  would  be  put 
in  the  shipping  carton  to  be  shipped. 


Is  there  a  technological  advance  implied  here? 
have  to  inspect  the  bottles? 


Did  they  used  to 


Well,  I  think  you're  right  there,  yes.   It  does  signify  a  little 
technological  improvement  in  that,  in  the  old  bottle  aging  bins, 
they  used  to  be  worried  about  the  wine  clouding  up  a  little  bit 
or  throwing  some  deposit,  and  if  it  threw  much  deposit  or  if  it 
developed  much  clouding,  then  they  might  pull  the  corks  and  dump 
that  wine  out  of  the  bottles  and  refilter  and  rebottle,  go 
through  the  process  again. 


*As  in  the  photograph  described  on  pp.  61-62. 


82 


Teiser:   Or  leakage? 

Timothy:  Leaky  corks  too  would  have  been  a  problems,  yes.  They  could 
segregate  the  bottles  that  had  leaky  corks  and  put  new  corks 
In  them,  or  if  they  had  lost  much  wine  by  the  leakage,  they 
might  top  them  off  a  little  bit  and  then  recork  and  put  them 
out  on  the  market. 

We  began  to  bottle  age  this  way  in  the  cartons  on  wooden 
pallets,  with  an  average  of  about  fifty  cartons  per  pallet, 
here  on  this  property  about  nineteen  or  more  years  ago. 

Teiser:   Do  you  seal  the  cartons? 

Timothy:  Yes,  all  sealed.   So  then  in  the  way  of  the  technology  of  things, 

this  indicates  that  nineteen  years  ago  we  had  a  level  of  confidence 
in  our  product  and  the  way  we  had  handled  things  that  we  were, 
let's  say,  as  certain  as  we  felt  we  needed  to  be  that  there  would 
be  no  problem  with  any  of  these  wines  and  any  of  these  bottles. 
That  we  didn't  have  to  candle  the  bottles  or  anything  like  that 
or  check  for  leaky  corks  to  know  that  those  wines  were  ready  to 
go  to  the  market. 

So  when  we  first  built  our  bottle  aging  warehouse  here  on 
this  property  about  nineteen  years  ago,  people  from  some  of  the 
other  wineries  came  to  look  and  see  what  we  were  doing,  and  then 
since  that  time  some  of  them  have  built  bottle  aging  warehouses 
just  on  the  style  of  what  we  started  here. 

Now,  we  were  talking  about  the  change  between  this  place 
and  going  to  South  St.  Helena:  we  planned  to  shut  down  our 
bottling  here  and  to  bottle  at  South  St.  Helena  whenever  we 
get  around  to  it,  whenever  the  time  is  right  in  our  budgeting 
schedule  to  do  this  without  too  many  aches  and  pains.  So  our 
master  plan  for  our  South  St.  Helena  location  does  call  for  the 
bottling  to  be  there  and  to  close  off  here.  Now  just  last  year 
we  closed  down  all  crushing  here,  and  we  closed  down  all  crushing 
at  our  old  Greystone  cellars;  that  fermenting  area  at  the  north 
end  of  the  old  Greystone  cellars  will  not  crush  grapes  any  more 
in  the  foreseeable  future. 

This  fermenting  room  on  this  property,  since  it  already 
exists  and  it  doesn't  cost  us  much  to  keep  it  in  existence,  we 
plan  to  hold  it  like  a  spare  tire  just  ir.  case  we  need  it--in 
case  we  have  some  kind  of  a  serious  breakdown  or  some  kind  of 
an  incapacity  of  our  South  St.  Helena  fermenting  area.  We  could 


83 


Timothy:  come  back  and  crush  grapes  here  again,  as  we  have  done  for 
years.   But  we  don't  want  to  haul  grapes  up  this  hill;  this 
last  four  miles  is  a  pretty  mean  little  mountain  road  for  many 
trucks  loaded  with  grapes.  We've  been  doing  it  for  years,  and 
we  still  bring  bottling  supplies  like  empty  bottles,  and  we 
still  bring  bulk  wine  in  stainless  steel  tanks  up  this  hill 
from  our  other  winery  locations  to  keep  our  bottling  room  going 
here.  We're  still  doing  those  things.  But  as  of  the  fall  of 
1972,  we  have  closed  down  our  crushing  on  this  property  until 
we  need  that  spare  tire.  So  changes  are  contemplated  on  this 
place,  as  we  get  our  South  St.  Helena  complex  more  and  more 
completed. 

When  we've  reached  the  final  stages  of  completion  of  our 
South  St.  Helena  complex,  then  this  place  will  not  be  very 
active  any  more;  it'll  be  kind  of  a  sleepy  wine  aging  cellar. 
Our  old  Greystone  cellar,  right  now,  is  just  about  that,  except 
that  on  the  third  floor  we  are  still  preparing,  or  giving  the 
secondary  fermentation  to  champagne.   So  we're  producing 
champagne  from  still  wines  on  the  third  floor  of  the  old  Greystone 
cellar.  And  then  that  champagne,  once  it  is  bottled  and  in  the 
carton,  is  moved  down  to  our  South  St.  Helena  location  now  for 
bottle  aging  there. 

So  the  two  bottling  departments  have  not  been  closed  down 
and  moved  yet,  but  whenever  we  reach  the  final  stages  of  develop 
ment  at  South  St.  Helena,  both  will  be  moved  there. 

Teiser:   Will  all  the  champagne  production  also  be  moved  to  South  St. 
Helena? 

Timothy:  Yes.   Both  Greystone  and  this  Mont  La  Salle  property  will  be  Just 
sleepy  wine  aging  cellars  when  we  get  to  that  point  in  time. 

Teiser:   And  you're  now  trucking  your  grapes  frorc  here  down  there? 
Timothy:  Yes. 


84 


WINERY  SIZE  AND  WINE  QUALITY 


Teiser:   As  you  showed  us,  before  we  started  today,  how  you  had  developed 
the  lower  floor  of  this  building  into  offices,  you  said  that 
your  operations  were  expanding  fast.  There's  a  tradition  that 
expansion,  large  wine  making,  is  incompatible  with  fine  wine 
making.  Let  me  turn  the  tape  just  befcre-- 

Timothy:  You  asked  the  question  about  whether  it's  more  difficult  for  a 
large  winery  to  make  good  wine  and  maintain  its  quality  than 
for  a  small  winery. 

Well,  there  are  things  to  be  said  on  both  sides  of  the 
question.  Of  course,  the  small  winemaker  may  think  that  in  a 
large  winery  the  wine  may  not  get  individual  attention,  as  he 
might  be  able  to  give  such  a  wine,  and  maybe  there's  truth  to 
that  —  that  the  larger  winery  with  more  labels  and  more  different 
kinds  of  wine  and  bigger  operations  and  more  distractions  does 
have,  let's  say,  a  greater  number  of  things  to  be  concerned  with. 
And  if  it  were  inclined  to  be  sleepy  or  lazy  or  to  get  into  a 
rut  or  to  oversimplify  its  wine  making  technique  to  where  it 
couldn't  give  individual  attention  to  individual  wine- -it  is 
possible  that  a  large  winery  could  just  produce  a  lot  of  ordinary 
wine. 

However,  another  way  of  rationalizing  it  a  bit,  too,  is 
that  the  large  winery  is  quite  likely  better  financed  and  better 
able  to  hire  competent  people  to  do  its  work  and  to  finance  and 
have  available  the  proper  equipment  that  it  needs  to  do  the  job 
on  the  wine.   So  that  there  are  some  things  that  a  large  winery 
can  do  that  a  small  winery  might  find  beyond  its  finances  or 
beyond  its  general  capability.  I  know  small  wineries  where  the 
winemaker  isn't  very  competent,  and  where  it's  totally  impossible 
for  the  people  running  it  to  be  able  to  afford  any  competent 
wine  chemist  or  wine  technician,  so  that  they  stumble  along 
without  proper  personnel  on  the  job.  So  that's  a  way  of  looking 
at  it. 

Now,  there's  also  a  lot  to  be  said  for  the  fact  that  the 
winemaker  is  an  artist,  he's  a  creative  person,  he's  working 
with  wines  and  each  blend  that  he  makes  represents  his  degree 
of  skill  or  artistry.  Well,  this  is  where  a  competent  man  is 
needed  in  the  winery,  whether  large  or  small.   If  that  competent 
man  is  on  the  job,  and  he  is  concerned  with  the  blending  of  the 
wins  and  so  on,  he  works  with  greater  resources  at  his  command 


85 


Timothy:   if  he  has  a  position  with  a  larger  winery  than  he  does  with  a 
small  winery,  where  he  may  have  only  a  very  small  number  of 
wines  of  the  correct  type  that  he  may  use  in  his  blend.   So 
he's  like  an  artist  working  with  a  pallette  with  a  smaller  number 
of  colors  on  it  to  do  the  job  if  he's  in  a  small  winery.  We 
have  had  occasions  where  we're  making,  say,  a  cabernet  sauvignon 
blend,  where  we  can  provide  from  our  cellars  more  than  fifty 
different  cabernet  sauvignon  wines  all  as  potential  material  to 
go  into  that  blend.  These  are,  you  know,  different  lots  from 
different  casks,  of  different  aging  periods  too,  since  we  do  not 
vintage  date. 

And  on  the  subject  of  vintage  dating- -it  has  been  by  choice 
that  we  have  never  gone  into  that.   In  not  having  the  requirement 
of  vintage  dating,  vintage  labeling  of  the  bottle,  we  are 
more  free  to  exercise  that  artistry  of  the  wine  taster  than  if 
we  were  hampered  by  the  vintage  dating. 

So  the  fact  that  we  may  blend  between  one  year  and  another 
year  in  our  bottle  does  a  lot  of  things  for  us  in  the  way  of 
giving  us  greater  uniformity  from  bottle  to  bottle  and  from 
purchase  to  purchase,  when  you're  talking  about  the  retail 
consumer.  A  greater  uniformity,  greater  reliability,  greater 
dependability  are  there.  We  also  are  able  by  this  blending 
technique  to  create  greater  complexity  in  the  wine,  so  that  all 
of  our  wines,  I  believe,  have  depth  and  complexity  that  they 
would  probably  not  have  if  they  were  simply  varietal  wines, 
rather  than  being  blended  as  they  are. 

So  there  are  a  lot  of  things  to  be  said  on  both  sides  of 
that  question  of  whether  you're  a  small  winery  or  a  big  winery. 

Now,  let's  say  there  may  be  such  a  thing  as  a  winery  being 
too  big.   If  there  is  it  would  be  when  a  winery  would  get  to 
that  point  where  individual  attention  can't  be  provided  to  the 
individual  wine,  but  that  things  are  moving  so  fast  and  the 
staff  of  personnel  competent  to  do  things  right  is  so  weak  and 
small  in  relation  to  the  gallonage  of  wine  moved  through  the 
winery  that  they're  all  doing  their  job  in  a  kind  of  a  perfunctory 
way,  not  paying  any  attention  or  much  attention  to,  let's  say, 
the  quality  level  of  the  different  things  they're  putting  out. 
This  is  conceivable  to  me.   I've  heard  of  how  some  of  the  very 
large  operations  in  France  operate,  the  very  large  vin  ordinaire 
operations  that  sell  the  wine  very,  very  cheap.  At  a  low  price 
their  revenue  per  unit  is  so  small  that  they  just  can't  afford 
to  have  the  right  kind  of  personnel  on  their  payroll  to  do  the 


86 


Timothy:   right  thing  with  each  different  wine,  so  none  of  their  wines 

have  any  individuality  whatsoever.  They're  just  handled  in  an 
extremely  bulk  manner,  without  even,  let's  say,  individual 
tasting.  They  just  bring  the  wine  in  and  assume  that  it  is 
what  it  is  said  to  be  and  throw  it  all  together  and  hope  for 
the  best. 

So  it's  possible  for  a  winery  to  be  too  big  or  to  be 
inattentive  to  detail. 

Teiser:   There  have  been  cases  in  the  past  in  which  financial  pressures 
have  caused  wineries  to  overextend  themselves,  shall  we  say, 
and  lower  the  quality  of  their  wine  on  the  strength  of  a  label 
that's  established  in  the  market. 

Timothy:  Oh  yes,  well  that  kind  of  thing  could  happen  any  time.  There's 
some  old  business  philosophy  to  the  effect  that  it's  always 
possible  for  somebody  to  come  out  with  something  cheaper  than 
what  is  now  on  the  market,  you  know.   But  it  doesn't  mean  that 
it's  a  good  thing  for  you  to  be  interested  in  that  or  to  buy  it. 
That  brings  you  to  the  other  buying  philosophy  of  "let  the 
buyer  beware." 

Teiser:   I  think  during  the  Depression  perhaps,  or  during  the  period  when 
there  were  interests  that  bought  into  the  wine  industry  which 
were  not  aware  of  the  qualities  of  wine,  some  people  were  more 
interested  in  merchandising  than  quality. 

Timothy:  Well,  to  me  I'd  have  to  consider  it  very  unlikely  that  any 

deterioration  of  quality  would  occur  ir.  any  of  the  wineries  of 
the  state.   I'm  speaking  really  of  the  whole  state.  For  various 
reasons—the  competitive  picture  is  such  that  any  winery  that 
would  let  its  quality  slip  would  be  so  noticeably  out  of  step 
with  the  rest  of  the  industry  that  it  would  start  going  downhill 
very  fast  and  would  not  last  very  long  in  this  competitive 
industry.   I  know  for  a  fact  that,  oh,  about  1935,  when  I  first 
started  in  the  wine  business,  I  believe  there  were  751  wineries 
registered  or  licensed  in  the  state  of  California,  bonded 
wineries.  Today  there's  a  little  less  than  300,  I  think.  So 
the  number  is  less  than  half  what  it  was  then.  So  that  would  be, 
what,  thirty-eight  years?  Now,  some  of  those  wineries  that 
went  out  of  business  were  very  large,  and  a  whole  lot  of  them 
were  very  small.  The  reasons  for  going  out  of  business  would 
be  either  poor  quality  wine,  bad  management,  improper  handling 
of  finances,  and  even  reasons  that  indicate  success  in  business- 
like  the  winery  was  a  very  successful  operation,  but  that  it  was 


87 


Timothy:   then  bought  out  by  somebody  larger  and  then  maybe  closed  down 
because  the  larger  unit  didn't  need  it  any  more.  Let's  say 
they  bought  it  perhaps  to  acquire  a  label  and  a  place  in  the 
market,  and  so  on,  and  just  didn't  need  the  old  physical  premises 
any  more,  so  it  could  be  closed  down  even  though  there  was 
nothing  wrong  with  the  operation  of  the  winery  in  the  past. 

Now,  I  don't  think  we  want  to  get  into  the  names  of 
wineries  and  to  specify  which  went  out  of  business  for  which 
reasons.  This  would  all  be  guesswork  on  my  part  anyway. 

Teiser:   But  it's  good  to  have  your  view  of  it  over  those  years. 

One  thing  I  forgot  to  ask  about  the  South  St.  Helena 
winery--will  your  administrative  offices  be  moved  there  also? 

Timothy:  Yes,  we  have  that  in  the  master  plan  too. 

Teiser:   You  said  it  was  a  variable  plan,  depending  upon  your  finances, 
but  do  you  expect  it  to  be  finished  in  the  next  few  years? 

Timothy:  Well,  I  think  I  mentioned  elsewhere  maybe  four  or  five  years  or 
so,  but  even  that  is  to  be  taken  with  a  little  grain  of  salt. 
It  may  take  us  six  or  seven  years.  Or  if  business  keeps  growing 
fast,  we  might  have  to  move  a  little  sooner. 


GRAPE  AND  WINE  PRICES  SINCE  1961 


Teiser:   Don't  you  find  it  increasingly  difficult  to  get  grapes  on  the 
open  market  now? 

Timothy:  Yes,  sure  it's  difficult,  but  grapes,  the  right  kinds  of  grapes 
and  the  right  number  of  tons  of  the  good  varieties  and  all  that, 
have  always  been  a  bit  difficult  to  buy;  even  when  prices  were 
lower  some  of  these  things  were  not  easy  to  find.   So  for  quite 
a  number  of  years  now  there  have  been  wines  in  short  supply, 
there  have  been  wines  under  allocation,  where  we  notify  our 
distributing  firm  at  the  beginning  of  each  year  how  many  cases 
we're  going  to  have  of  each  different  type  of  wine  during  that 
period  of  time. 


88 


Timothy:       So  this  is  a  regular  thing  with  us.  Now,  the  worst  of  this 
shortage  of  good  varieties  dates  back  from  about  1961.  We  had 
a  very  severe  frost  in  1961.  I  believe  Napa  Valley  only  had 
about  25  per  cent  of  a  normal  crop.  Then  '61  in  my  mind  marks 
the  beginning  of  this  heavy  escalation  of  prices  upward,  due  to 
that  short  crop.  Now  it  happens  also  that  the  old  federal 
marketing  order  that  was  a  kind  of  a  set-cside  program  or  what 
ever,  and  had  been  sponsored  by  Sox  SetraUian,*  was  in  effect  in 
'61  and  '62.  And  that  federal  marketing  order  was  designed  to 
solve  the  problem  of  surplus  grapes,  which  were  thought  to  be 
mostly  Thompsons  at  that  time. 

You  know,  there  were  surplus  raisins  and  surplus  grapes. 
And  various  people  in  the  industry,  but  especially  Sox  Setrakian, 
thought  that  these  surplus  grapes  were  going  to  break  the  market, 
so  that  the  federal  marketing  order  had  to  be,  or  was  desirable. 
Well,  the  federal  marketing  order  required  people,  by  law,  to 
set  aside,  and  not  put  on  the  market  for  any  beverage  purposes, 
a  certain  percentage  of  the  tonnage  (it  was  about  25  or  26  per  cent) 
of  grapes  crushed. 

Those  set-aside  wines,  then,  were  mostly  distilled  and  then 
kept  as  set -aside  brandy.  Most  of  it  was  high  proof  brandy. 
Being  produced  as  high  proof  brandy,  it  would  take  up  the  minimum 
amount  of  storage  space.  The  other  type  of  thing  that  could  have 
been  utilized  at  that  time,  but  which  did  not  get  into  any 
significant  tonnage  as  I  recollect,  would  have  been  grape  con 
centrate.   You  can  concentrate  grape  juice  and  that  would  have 
occupied  a  relatively  smaller  space  in  tank  storage,  and  perhaps 
it  could  have  been  feasible  to  do  that.  But  the  easiest  thing, 
and  the  way  to  do  it  to  take  up  the  least  amount  of  storage 
space,  was  to  make  high  proof  brandy. 

Anyway,  about  the  end  of  that  federal  marketing  order,  that 
brandy  was  all  sold  to  this  big  Publicker  Industries,  some  kind 
of  an  alcohol  or  distilled  spirits  corporation--!  really  don't 
know  anything  much  about  the  Publicker  Industries.   But  they 
bought  that  high  proof  brandy  from  the  California  Industry  at, 
let's  say,  give-away  prices,  with  the  stipulation  that  that  high 
proof  brandy  could  not  be  used  for  beverage  purposes.   I  don't 
know  whoever  policed  it  after  they  got  ii.   I  don't  know  anything 
about  the  disposition  of  it,  whether  it  was  ever  used  for  beverage 


*Arpaxat  Setrakian,  nicknamed  "Sox." 


89 


Timothy:   purposes  or  whether  it  was  sold  in  foreign  markets  and  not 

sold  for  beverage  purposes  in  the  United  States,  or  whether  it 
was  used  in  the  manufacturing  of  industrial  products  rather 
than  being  used  in  beverage  products.  However,  there  was  a 
stipulation  that  Publicker  Industries,  in  buying  this  high 
proof  brandy  at  those  low  prices,  was  not  entitled  to  use  it 
in  any  beverage  in  the  United  States. 

Now,  the  reason  I  got  diverted  off  on  that  subject  is  that 
that  federal  set-aside  program  and  that  short  crop  of  '61  tied 
in  together  to  create  a  very  severe  shortage  throughout  the  whole 
industry.   Both  of  those  things  had  the  same  influence,  then,  in 
causing  winery  people  and  growers  to  run  out  and  plant  vineyards 
just  as  fast  as  they  could  plant  them- -because  the  winery,  to 
maintain  its  position  in  the  market,  to  maintain  sufficient 
gallonage  of  wine  in  the  winery  to  age  that  wine  and  to  have  wine 
available  at  a  later  date  after  an  aging  program,  every  winery 
had  to  be  worried  a  bit  with  a  federal  set -aside  program  like 
that.  Nobody  knew  when  the  federal  marketing  order  would  be 
dropped;  we  didn't  know  how  long  it  would  last. 

We  had  to  anticipate  that  maybe  next  year  we  had  to  be 
crushing  25  per  cent  more  grapes  than  we  actually  needed  for  our 
wine  so  that  we'd  have  25  per  cent  to  put  into  this  set-aside 
program.   It  was  mandatory  by  law.   So  this  forced  you  to  run 
out  and  plant  more  vineyard  or  to  do  something  to  assure  yourself 
of  those  added  supplies  of  grapes.  So  both  of  those  things  then 
tended  to  cause  grape  and  wine  prices  too  to  start  to  escalate 
upward . 

The  set-aside  program  was  then  killed  after  the  grape  season 
of  '62,  and  so  we  didn't  have  it  in  '63  and  thereafter.  However, 
'64  turned  out  to  be  another  frost  crop  year  up  here  in  the  north. 
The  severity  of  the  short  crop  of  '64  was  not  as  great  as  the 
severity  of  the  short  crop  of  "61,  and  the  set-aside  program 
wasn't  in  existence  any  more,  so  it  wasn't  as  bad  a  situation. 
But  the  '64  short  crop  did  push  our  varietal  grape  prices  up 
here  in  the  north  up  higher  again.  And  I  think  if  you  review 
grape  prices  from  '61  on  to  the  present  time,  you'll  find  an 
absolutely  constant  upswing  of  grape  prices  all  the  time  from  '61 
to  the  present.  We've  had  no  leveling  off  and  no  dropping  of 
grape  prices  in  all  those  intervening  yearc.  There  might  be  a 
few  exceptions  to  that.  There  may  have  been  a  few  ups  and  downs, 
say,  in  the  Thompson  market.   But  in  these  North  Coast  grapes 
that  I'm  concerned  with  up  here,  I  think  it  is  absolutely  true 
that  there  has  been  no  slacking  off  of  that  upswing  of  grape 
prices  since  '61. 


90 


Timothy: 


Teiser: 
Timothy: 

Teiser: 
Timothy: 


Teiser: 


Timothy: 


Now,  then 
then  '71  was  a 
bad  short  crop 
I  think  '72  was 
So  these  things 
had  motivation 
grape  prices  up 
to  fill  all  the 
want,  have  been 


the  next  very  severe  short  crop  year  was  1970, 
reasonably  normal  crop,  then  '72  we  had  another 
all  over  the  state,  up  and  down  all  of  California. 

the  shortest  crop  in  about  the  last  forty  years. 

all  point  to  the  fact  that:  grape  prices  have 
behind  the  power  of  the  shortage  to  push  those 
Shortages  in  the  market,  too,  not  being  able 

bottles  of  wine  that  the  buying  market  might 

with  us  right  along  since  that  time. 


So,  to  get  back  to  where  1  started  on  this  whole  little 
discourse—that  1961  in  my  mind  was  the  key  year  that  triggered 
this  whole  thing  off,  both  shortages  of  inventory  and  shortage 
of  supply,  and  the  grape  demand  on  the  part  of  the  consumers 
greater  than  the  supply.  This  whole  thing  fitted  together  about 
like  that. 

At  the  same  time,  of  course,  land  prices  have  gone  up,  so  to 
acquire  new  vineyards  is  more  expensive. 

Yes,  well  land  prices  would  go  up,  I  guess,  the  way  the  dollar 
devaluates  or  whatever;  that's  just  general  inflation. 


But  vineyard  lands  specifically? 

Well,  other  farm  lands  have  gone  up 
land,  but  in  the  agricultural  scene 
one  crop  in  the  way  of  interesting 
the  speculator  and  interesting  the 
grapes  have  been  the  glamor  boy,  or 
scene  for  quite  a  few  years  now.   I 
back  to  1961  too.  At  least  the  big 
thing  to  develop  would  come  back  to 


too t  other  than  vineyard 
grapes  have  been  the  number 
the  farmer  and  interesting 
financial  backers  of  agriculture- 
whatever,  of  the  agricultural 
think  that  would  date  right 
impetus  for  that  sort  of 
about  that  date. 


In  your  acquisitions  of  vineyard  land,  have  you  thought  of  going 
into  other  areas,  as  Paul  Masson  has  done,  or  even  going  into 
the  Central  Valley  with  new  grape  varieties? 

Oh  yes,  we've  thought  of  those  things,  but  in  general,  we've 
made  up  our  minds  to  fight  hard  for  our  position  in  the  Napa 
Valley  and  to  stay  in  the  Napa  Valley  with  all  of  our  vineyard 
production  for  our  dry  wines  just  as  long  as  we  possibly  can. 
We  have  not  invested  any  of  our  money  in  any  lands  outside  of 
the  area  of  our  winery  locations.  We  did  put  some  money  into 
vineyard  developments  around  the  Mount  Tivy  area  close  to  Reedley 
and  rather  close  to  Dinuba  too.  Dinuba  is  not  awful  far  away 


91 


Timothy:   from  Reed  ley;  let's  say  about  fourteen  miles.  So  in  that  area 
near  our  winery  locations  we  have  planted  grapes,  mostly  for 
the  dessert  wines.   But  here  in  the  north,  we're  in  the  Napa 
area,  in  all  the  climatic  regions  of  the  Napa  Valley.   I  think 
I  may  have  told  you  that  before.   But  here  in  Northern  California, 
we  have  no  vineyard  land  other  than  in  Napa  County. 

Teiser:   Have  you  made  any  grower  contracts  as  some  of  the  others  have? 

Timothy:  Yes,  sure.  Yes,  we  grow  grapes;  we  also  buy  grapes.  And  we 
buy  grapes  on  annual  contracts,  which  are  the  old  traditional 
thing,  from  growers  who  are  located  in  good  areas  and  have  good 
varieties.  We  buy  also  on  long-term  contracts,  rather  than 
just  annual  contracts.   So,  we're  doing  just  about  everything 
in  the  way  of  grape  contracting  that  any  other  winery  might  do. 
However,  maybe  different  in  degree  rather  than  in  type. 


CORKS  AND  CAPS 


Teiser:   May  I  ask  you  about  a  matter  that  really  hasn't  been  discussed 
in  this  interview  series,  the  question  of  the  cork  versus  the 
screw  cap? 

Timothy:  Well,  the  cork  is  the  natural  thing  and  the  old  traditional  thing. 
The  cork  is  used  in  these  table  wines  that  we  do  wish  to  lay  away 
for  further  bottle  aging  after  they  are  bottled.  The  cork  is 
perhaps  the  closure  that  lends  itself  best  to  helping  the  wine 
improve  with  bottle  aging.  Now,  the  cork  is  the  bark  of  an  oak 
tree.  We  use  oak  casks  and  oak  tanks  in  the  winery,  and  oak 
flavor  in  the  wine  is  thought  to  be  desirable  in  most  table 
wines.  Well,  let's  say  in  practically  all  wines,  a  little  oak 
cask  or  oak  barrel  flavor  is  thought  to  be  a  desirable  adjunct 
to  the  flavor  components  of  the  wine.   So  a  little  bit  of  cork 
taste  in  the  wine  may  be  all  right;  maybe  it  enhances  the  wine. 

Now,  the  modern  caps  that  are  on  the  market,  like  the  crown 
cap  or  the  twist-off  aluminum  cap  (and  there  are  many  other  types 
of  caps  on  the  market,  and  there  are  plastic  champagne  corks  and 
things  like  that)  these  things  are  good  peals,  and  some  of  them 
are  hermetically  tighter  than  a  cork.  The  crown  cap  is  certainly 
a  tighter  seal  against  leakage  of  gases  than  a  cork  is.  Most 
screw  caps  would  quite  likely  be  tighter  than  the  cork.  And 
when  we  have  wines  like  this  table  wine,  we  don't  want  the  air 


92 


Timothy:   in  any  large  quantities  to  get  into  that  table  wine.  The 

small  amount  of  air  that  might  get  through,  a  cork  is  probably 
just  the  right  amount  to  enhance  the  development  of  that  wine 
in  the  bottle.  So,  let's  say,  we're  not  against  a  tiny  bit 
of  air  getting  through  that  cork. 

But  a  cap  like  a  crown  cap  or  a  good  screw  cap  would  quite 
likely  be  tighter  and  let  perhaps  no  air  whatsoever  get  past 
that  closure  into  the  bottle. 

Teiser:   Is  there  an  ideal  head  space  for  the  bottle  aging  of  wine? 

Timothy:  Well,  that's  kind  of  a  tough  question  to  answer.   Some  people 

believe  in  filling  the  bottle  just  as  tight  as  they  can  get  it, 
you  know,  with  as  little  head  space  as  possible.  And  whatever 
your  head  space  is,  you'd  better  have  it  uniform.  You  don't 
want  to  have  one  bottle  with  a  lot  of  head  space  and  another 
bottle  with  very  little  head  space.  Now,  all  the  bottles  are 
built  to  have  a  certain  exact  fill  point,  you  know,  so  that  they 
have  the  correct  cubic  contents.  Your  government  taxes  are  paid 
on  those  cubic  contents  of  that  bottle,  and  your  consumer  pays 
for  the  cubic  contents  of  the  bottle  and  is  entitled  to  get 
what  he  pays  for.   So  you  don't  want  to  htve  short  fill. 

If  you  have  overfill,  then  the  federal  government  claims 
that  you're  giving  away  some  wine  without  paying  tax  on  it. 
[Laughter]   So,  you'd  just  better  be  correct  in  what  you're 
doing.  You're  either  cheating  the  customer  or  you're  cheating 
the  federal  government  if  you  have  a  variable  fill. 

Teiser:   When  you  age  wine  in  the  bottle,  it's  against  the  cork,  but 
there's  air  space  then  in  the  side.  That  gives  you  more  air 
surface. 

Timothy:  You're  talking  about  the  bottle  lying  down  or  standing  upside 
down? 

Teiser:   Well,  either  will  give  you  more  area. 

Timothy:  You're  right.  The  neck  is  the  smallest  part  of  the  bottle,  and 
so  if  your  bottle  stands  upright  and  your  head  space  is  up  in 
here,  there  would  be  the  smallest  surface  contact  between  the 
air  and  the  wine.   If  the  bottle  is  lying  on  its  side,  the 
surf act  contact  will  be  a  little  greater,  but  the  volume  of  air 
will  be  the  same.  And  if  the  bottle  is  upside  down  (we  pack  all 
our  table  wine  bottles  in  the  cartons  upside  down  with  the  cork 


93 


Timothy:  down,  so  then  the  air  is  in  the  bottom)  the  surface  contact 

between  air  and  wine  will  be  greater.  But  that  volume  is  the 
same. 

So  it's  nothing  to  be  concerned  about  really.   It's  such 
a  minor  difference  that  it's  hardly  worth  talking  about. 

Harroun:  Is  there  a  difference  in  champagne  corks? 

Timothy:  Champagne  corks  are  put  together  in  pieces,  so  that  there  are 
no  pores  of  the  cork  tissue  that  run  through  from  bottom  to 
top.  Champagne  corks  are  put  together  in  layers  and  pieces  and 
wedges  so  that  all  those  pores  can  go  through  just  the  one  little 
piece  of  cork,  but  not  through  the  whole  cork,  so  that  the  C02 
pressure,  the  natural  gas  pressure,  in  the  champagne  does  not 
leak  out  very  readily.   So  a  champagne  cork  is  a  tighter  seal 
than  the  regular  dry  wine  cork.   It  has  to  be  to  hold  the  gas 
pressure  in  the  bottle. 

Teiser:   Are  corks  coated? 

Timothy:  There's  a  little  bit  of  paraffin  normally,  around  the  champagne 
cork  in  a  little  band.   It  helps  to  improve  the  seal,  and  it 
helps  to  improve  the  job  of  having  a  machine  jam  that  cork  in 
the  bottle  too.   It  is  a  little  bit  of  wax  lubricant,  you  might 
call  it.   I  did  mention  natural  wax  in  the  cork  earlier.  However, 
you  raised  this  question  of  coating.  We  do  a  certain  amount  of 
wax  coating  of  corks  by  tumbling  the  corks  in  a  big  drum  with 
some  chunks  of  paraffin  in  the  drum.   It's  like  an  empty,  dry 
washing  machine,  you  might  call  it.  And  the  chunks  of  paraffin 
in  there  with  the  corks  rub  against  all  the  corks  and  the  corks 
rub  against  each  other,  and  some  solid  paraffin  is  wiped  off 
on  the  corks  so  they  get  a  very  minor  film  of  paraffin.  And 
we  do  this  paraffin  treatment  of  corks  ourselves  right  here  on 
our  own  property,  rather  than  trust  anybody  else  to  do  it  for  us. 

Some  of  the  cork  sales  houses  will  sell  wineries  corks  that 
are  already  paraffin  treated.   But  we  don't  buy  those  because  we 
have  found  that  their  paraffin  treatment  may  be  very  variable. 
One  lot  of  corks  will  have  too  much,  and  another  lot  of  corks 
won't  have  enough,  and  so  on.  And  so  we  do  it  ourselves. 


94 


CORKSCREWS 


Teiser:   May  we  ask  you  to  tell  about  your  corkscrew  collection? 

Timothy:  The  corkscrew  collection  is  somebhing  I  got  personally  interested 
in,  oh,  about  1949.   I  collected  about  four  corkscrews,  very 
old,  beatup  looking  things  from  a  littla  antique  shop  in 
Yountville.  Now  the  type  of  thing,  though,  that  caused  me  to 
get  started  in  the  collecting  of  corkscrews  was  that  we  had  had 
quite  a  little  bit  of  trouble  pulling  corks  and  ripping  holes 
in  corks  with  poor  corkscrews.   Customers  were  beginning  to 
write  in  telling  us  that  they  had  ripped  a  hole  in  a  cork,  and 
then  accusing  us  of  using  cheap  corks,  where  we  have  almost 
always  used  the  best  we  could  get  our  hands  on.   So  it  wasn't 
the  fault  of  the  cork,  but  it  was  more  generally  the  fault  of 
the  corkscrew.  There's  lots  and  lots  of  bad  corkscrews  made 
and  still  being  manufactured  even  today,  when  you  think  that 
people  would  get  wise  some  time  to  the  first  principles  on  which 
a  good  corkscrew  should  be  constructed.  You'd  think  that  the 
manufacturers  would  get  wise  and  that  they  would  begin  to  make 
a  corkscrew  that  would  work,  rather  than  continue  to  make  a  lot 
of  old,  junky  stuff  that  is  no  good  at  all,  but  still  made  and 
still  sold  on  the  market. 

So  that  kind  of  thing  frustrated  me,  and  I  was,  let's  say, 
mad  at  bad  corkscrews,  and  I  was  sort  of  determined  to  find  out 
what  kind  of  corkscrews  were  available  that  were  manufactured 
on  good  engineering  principles  or  good  mechanical  principles 
that  would  work  properly  when  you  tried  to  use  them.  And  then 
it  was  about  that  time,  actually  1946,  the  Wine  Institute  had 
conducted  an  engineering  study  on  corkscrews.*  And  I  had  gotten 
a  copy  of  it,  and  I  had  studied  it  carefully.  And  of  course 
I  had  learned  that  a  good  corkscrew  of  the  old  traditional-style 
spiral,  or  you  can  call  it  a  "helix,"  a  good  corkscrew  should 
be  an  open-centered  wire  spiral.  It  ought  to  have  an  open  center 
so  that  a  toothpick  could  run  right  down  through  the  center  of 
it.   It  should  not  have  a  solid  metal  shank  running  through  the 
center  that  would  block  any  such  toothpick  if  you  tried  to  give 
it  the  little  old  toothpick  test.   So  when  you  analyze  why  it 
needs  to  be  that  way  and  what  was  wrong  with  a  solid  shank  being 
through  the  center  of  the  corkscrew,  it  comes  down  to  something 
like  this:   that  if  you  have  a  solid  metal  shank  running  through 


*A  condensed  version  of  the  report  was  given  in  the  May,  1946, 
Wine  Review  under  the  title  "Corkscrews  That  Work!" 


95 


Timothy:   the  corkscrew,  and  you  screw  that  down  into  the  cork,  you're 
damaging  a  lot  of  cork  tissue  in  a  straight  line  right  down 
through  the  center.  When  you  pull  hard,  you're  going  to  rip 
a  hole  right  through  the  cork;  quite  likely  you  will  if  the 
cork  sticks  very  tight  at  all  to  the  bottle. 

We  also  learned  that  there's  a  kind  of  natural  wan  in 
natural  cork,  and  it  tends  to  adhere  or  stick  like  glue,  you 
might  say,  quite  tight  to  the  glass.   So  when  you  begin  to 
pull  a  cork,  you've  got  to  break  that  seal  between  the  cork 
and  the  glass,  and  then  the  cork  will  come  much  more  freely 
after  that  first  seal  has  been  broken. 

The  Wine  Institute,  in  running  a  series  of  scientific  tests 
on  corkscrews  and  corks,  found  out  that  this  open  wire  spiral 
was  important,  just  as  1  have  said  to  you,  so  what  I've  recounted 
comes  from  that  study.   I  don't  think  anybody  anywhere  in  the 
world  prior  to  1946,  when  the  Wine  Institute  study  was  published, 
had  conducted  any  such  scientific  study  of  corkscrews.  Now, 
the  Wine  Institute,  in  conducting  that  test  did  things  like  this: 
they  would  take  some  corks  and  glue  them  with  some  sort  of  a 
good  cement  into  the  bottle,  and  then  test  how  many  pounds  of 
pull  they  could  put  on  a  corkscrew  to  either  break  that  cork 
loose  or  to  rip  a  hole  through  the  cork.  They  wanted  to  find 
out  which  corks  had  most  strength  or  whatever,  and  which  cork 
screws  had  real  purchase  inside  that  cork.  And  they  found  out 
that  a  good  open  wire  spiral  of  good  diameter,  about  one-third 
of  an  inch,  is  about  the  best.   I' think  this  one  is  about  a  third 
of  an  inch.  This  one  is  undoubtedly  a  little  bit  smaller. 

Teiser:   The  first  one  you're  showing  us  is  a  traditional  waiter's  cork 
screw,  is  that  right? 

Timothy:  Yes,  the  first  one  is  a  traditional  waiter-type  corkscrew,  a 
folding  corkscrew  that  a  waiter  can  carry  in  his  pocket.  It 
has  a  little  jack  lever  device  at  the  side  of  it  that  is  used 
by  putting  it  over  against  the  edge  of  the  glass  on  the  bottle, 
and  then  when  you  pull  on  this  it's  like  lifting  the  handle  on 
a  claw  hammer  to  pull  a  nail.  You  get  a  lot  of  leverage,  and 
the  leverage  is  based  on  the  distance  between  the  center  of 
this  pin  in  the  jack  lever  hinge  and  the  center  of  that  pin  in 
the  screw  hinge,  and  the  length  of  the  handle  from  this  screw 
hinge  pin  back  down  this  way  to  its  end.  This  handle  is  longer 
than  this  distance  right  here  between  the  pins.  Now  I  haven't 
measured  this,  but  the  distance  between  this  pin  and  this  one 
would  be  pretty  close  to  one  inch,  and  this  distance  from  this 


96 


Timothy:  pin  out  to  this  end  of  the  handle  is  around  four,  four  and 
a  half  inches,  something  like  that. 

So  now,  if  you  have  four  inches  of  length  here  and  one 
inch  of  distance  here,  you're  going  to  get  a  four-to-one 
leverage.  Pulling  a  nail  with  a  claw  hammer,  the  handle  of 
the  hammer  is  a  lot  longer  than  four  inches,  so  then  you're 
going  to  get  much  greater  leverage  with  a  handle  of  a  hammer 
than  with  what  I'm  describing  here  on  a  corkscrew.  At  any 
rate,  that  leverage  principle  is  quite  important,  and  any  good 
corkscrew  should  have  some  sort  of  a  leverage  device  engineered 
into  it. 

This  type  of  corkscrew  is  a  double  wood  body  thing,  with 
two  handles  on  the  top,  the  small  handle  to  turn  the  corkscrew 
into  the  cork  and  the  larger  handle  to  rotate  on  a  wooden  thread 
and  to  pull  the  cork  out  of  the  bottle.  With  this  one,  you 
insert  the  corkscrew  into  the  cork,  you  hold  the  bottle  on  top 
of  the  table,  and  then  hold  both  the  corkscrew  and  the  bottle 
while  you  rotate  the  larger  handle,  twisting  it  to  bring  the 
cork  out.   By  the  time  you  have  twisted  that  up  to  the  top,  the 
cork  is  back  up  in  here,  and  it's  already  out  of  the  bottle. 
So  this  type  of  corkscrew  is  very  good  for  someone  who  doesn't 
have  a  lot  of  muscular  strength.  All  you  have  to  do  is  rotate 
those  two  handles  and  the  cork  is  out.  This  corkscrew  happens 
to  have  a  very  good  open  wire  spiral,  and  so  this  corkscrew 
is,  in  my  opinion,  about  the  most  foolproof  type  there  is,  and 
this  was  the  one  most  highly  recommended  by  the  Wine  Institute 
study. 

Now,  did  you  say  you  had  a  complete  copy  of  that  old  Wine 
Institute  study  on  corkscrews? 

Teiser:   No,  I  don't. 

Timothy:   I  have,  since  I'm  in  the  business  of  collecting  corkscrews  as 
well  as  doing  a  lot  of  other  things  and  being  able  to  answer 
questions  on  what's  wrong  with  a  certain  corkscrew.   Since  I 
did  get  started  in  that  whole  thing,  (and  you  know  I've  collected 
more  than  1200  corkscrews)  I  had  some  interest,  too,  in  trying 
to  learn  what  I  could  about  the  history  of  corkscrews  and  about 
other  things  like  this  scientific  test  that  the  Wine  Institute 
made. 

Teiser:  We  see  now  so  often  the  kind  of  metal  corkscrew  that  has  two 
arms  that  come  up,  and  you  push  those  down  to  pull  the  cork. 
Was  that  in  common  use  when  they  made  the  Wine  Institute  study? 


97 


Timothy:   I  think  those  were  around,  I  think  thay  were  available  when 

the  Wine  Institute  made  its  study.  That  type  of  corkscrew  is 
one  of  those  things;  most  of  them  are  not  well  made.  The 
leverage  principle  is  fine,  and  these  two  wing  levers  that  come 
out--I  like  the  whole  leverage  principle,  the  whole  idea,  very 
well,  but  most  don't  have  a  good  metal  screw. 

This  other  little  thing  with  the  two  prongs,  you  see,  if 
you  hold  it  perfectly  upright,  the  longer  one  is  going  to 
touch  the  cork  first.  You'd  have  to  put  it  in  crooked  if  you 
were  going  to  do  it  the  other  way.   So  you  make  sure  you  start 
with  the  longer  prong.  You  begin  to  wiggle  it  down  right  there 
between  the  cork  and  the  glass,  then  you  get  the  other  one 
started,  then  you  rock  it. 

Now,  some  of  these  with  the  prongs  (let's  say  north  is 
that  way  and  this  one  is  south)  are  made  where  these  things  are 
east  and  west  directions  of  the  handle  instead  of  the  north  and 
south  direction  of  the  handle,  so  that  then  you'd  have  to  rock 
it  this  way  back  and  forth  instead  of  sideways.  You  rock  it 
towards  the  points,  you  know,  to  get  it  in.   If  you  try  to  push 
both  down  at  the  same  time,  just  a  straight  push,  you'll  tend 
to  push  the  cork  in.  Then  if  I  pull  straight  up,  I'll  pull 
the  corkscrew  out  and  leave  the  cork  in.   But  I  rotate  now; 
I  pull  up  only  a  very  little  while  rotating.  Now  I'd  like  to 
have  the  thing  in  a  little  deeper;  I'm  getting  it  in  a  little 
deeper. 

Teiser:   This  is  a  corkscrew  that  gives  you  a  second  chance? 

Timothy:  Yes,  that's  right.  Every  restaurant  ought  to  have  one  of  these 
things  lying  around,  just  in  case  they  need  to  remove  a  cork 
that  has  a  hole  ripped  in  it  by  another  corkscrew.  This  cork 
screw  is  not  as  foolproof  as  that  double  wood  body  corkscrew. 
When  you  get  off  center,  you're  going  to  twist  these  points 
out  of  condition  and  maybe  bend  the  metal.   It's  a  sort  of  a 
spring  steel,  but  it's  not  very  thick. 

This  corkscrew  has  been  said  to  be  tha  butler's  friend. 
Now,  what  that  means  is  that  the  butler  can  pull  the  cork  out 
of  his  master's  wine  and  drink  some  and  then  replace  it  with  an 
inferior  wine,  and  he  can  put  the  cork  back  in  again  and  the 
master  can't  find  a  hole  in  the  cork.   [Laughter]  So,  this  is 
the  butler's  friend. 

Teiser:   What  do  you  call  it? 


98 


Timothy:  Well,  I  call  this  type  a  two-pronged  corkscrew.   It's  not  really 
a  screw;  you  can  call  it  a  two-pronged  cork  remover. 

My  mother  was  born  in  1873,  and  she  has  passed  away  now. 
(She  would  be  one  hundred  years  old  if  she  were  alive.)  My 
mother  said  that  when  she  was  a  girl  they  had  these  corkscrews 
with  the  two  prongs  around.  And  then,  I  found  one  in  an  old 
antique  shop  with  a  patent  date  on  it  and  kind  of  primitively 
built.  A  lot  of  them  are  built  with  more  parts,  more  complicated 
than  this,  indicating  that  they  couldn't  mass  produce  it.   I 
think  it  has  the  date  1868  on  it.  So  I  think  that  that  was 
probably  the  first  patent  of  any  corkscrew  with  these  two  prongs. 
My  mother  would  have  been  a  girl  around  that  time;  so  when  she 
was  ten  years  old,  the  corkscrew  patent  was,  let's  say,  fifteen 
years  old. 

Teiser:   Someone  gave  us  one  of  the  kind  that  you  pump  air  into  the  bottle 
to  force  the  cork  out. 

Timothy:  They're  pretty  good,  and  they  don't  do  any  harm  to  the  wine 
either.  People  raise  all  kinds  of  funny  questions  about  "do 
they  spoil  the  wine?"  I  don't  see  that  they  do.  Did  you  have 
one  that  was  like  an  air  pump?  Or  did  it  have  gas? 

Teiser:   No,  it  was  like  a  bicycle  pump. 

Timothy:  Well,  1  like  that  kind  better  than  the  ones  that  use  a  propellant 
gas.  There  are  several  of  those  gas  operated  corkscrews  on  the 
market.  There  are  some  that  operate  wich  (X>2  gas,  carbon  dioxide 
gas.  There's  others  that  operate  with  Vreon  gas;  that's  a 
refrigerant  gas.  Then  the  other  ones  with  an  air  pump;  there's 
a  number  of  different  manufacturers  of  those  too.  I  don't  find 
that  those  corkscrews  that  use  a  propellant  gas  do  anything  to 
spoil  the  wine.   I  haven't  noticed  that  even  from  the  ones  with 
Freon. 

People  do  also  raise  this  kind  of  question:   they  say, 
'Veil,  it  might  be  dangerous.  The  bottle  might  explode  in  your 
hands,  and  you'd  better  wrap  the  bottle  with  a  towel."  I've 
never  had  any  kind  of  problem  like  that  either.   I  don't  know 
if  anybody's  ever  exploded  a  bottle  with  one  of  these  C02  powered 
corkscrews,  but  I  guess  it  is  possible  if  the  bottle  is  a  little 
defective. 

Teiser:   To  get  back  to  your  corkscrew  collection--!  think  you  told  a 

little  about  a  purchase  you'd  made--a  whole  collection  that  had 
come   to  you. 


Timothy: 


99 


Yes,  I  bought  a  whole  collection  from  a  Mr.  Joe  Vasconi  of  St. 
Helena  for  $2000.   It  amounted  to  about  368  corkscrews  that  are 
on  display  in  one  of  our  cabinets  in  St.  Helena. 


Teiser:   They've  been  kept  together? 

Timothy:  We've  kept  this  collection  all  together.  Now,  each  corkscrew 
in  our  collection  is  serially  numbered  too,  has  a  little  code 
nuuber  marked  on  it.   So  they've  gotten  catalogued,  and  we've 
gotten  them  insured,  and  then  this  Joe  Vasconi  collection  we've 
kept  separate  from  the  others—pretty  much  so.   If  anybody's 
got  some  of  them  mixed  up,  we  could  re-separate  them,  because 
they  are  serial  numbered. 

Now,  there's  another  addition  to  the  collection  that  is 
interesting.  A  Mr.  Jim  Howe  passed  away  over  in  Walnut  Creek,* 
and  he  was  also  a  corkscrew  collector.  He  had  about  165  cork 
screws,  and  he  willed  them  to  me.   So  after  his  death,  I  received 
those  corkscrews.  Now  Jim  Howe  was  an  interesting  old  retired 
journalist.  He  had  once  been  a  foreign  correspondent  for  one 
of  the  major  press  services,  you  know,  like  Associated  Press. 
He  was  the  China  correspondent,  and  he  was  a  foreign  correspondent 
at  other  times  in  other  parts  of  the  world.  He  lived  in  China 
for  a  number  of  years.  He  developed  an  interest  in  a  lot  of 
things,  and  in  later  life  he  became  quite  a  wine  judge,  too,  and 
quite  a  wine  taster--you  might  say  an  enthusiastic  wine  buff. 
He  even  opened  up  a  little  winery  on  his  own  property  in  a  little 
old  basement  cellar  built  down  under  an  old  windmill  tower  or 
whatever  it  was.  Right  on  the  edge  of  Walnut  Creek  is  where  he 
had  this.  Jim  Howe  was  a  very  unusual  and  interesting  man. 

He  was  the  son  of  a  famous  editor,**  also,  who  had  worked  in 
Kansas.   I  think  he  was  born  in  Atchison,  Kansas. 

To  indicate  how  interesting  the  man  was  and  what  unusual 
things  he  got  involved  in--he  had  a  collaction  of  things  called 
"pigeon  whistles,"  and  he  willed  those  to  the  University  of 
California  at  Berkeley  I  think.  A  pigeon  whistle  is  a  thing 
that  you  fasten  on  the  pigeon,  and  when  the  pigeon  flies,  it 


*April  15,  1970. 
**Ed  Howe. 


100 


Timothy:   screeches  and  whistles--the  air  moving  through  this  thing.  And 
the  idea  is  that  over  in  China,  where  you  want  to  protect  your 
rice  crop  or  whatever  from  the  birds,  you  get  some  pigeons, 
and  you  equip  your  pigeons  with  these  hand -made  pigeon  whistles, 
little  things  built  of  very  light-weight  material.  And  your 
pigeons  go  flying  around  screeching,  and  they  sound  like  a  hawk 
or  whatever.  Each  whistle  sounds  a  little  different.  They 
scare  the  birds  away,  to  keep  the  birds  from  eating  your  grain. 
[Laughter] 

Harroun:   In  his  corkscrew  collection,  did  he  have  some  from  China? 
Timothy:  Oh,  no,  apparently  nobody  ever  made  a  corkscrew  in  China. 

Now,  the  other  thing  I  want  to  say  about  Jim  Howe  is  that 
he  had- -I  don't  know  if  he  got  it  as  a  gift  from  some  old 
business  or  if  he  went  and  bought  it  some  place—a  set  of 
dental  tools,  like  an  old-fashioned  dentist  would  use,  the  kind 
that  were  actively  in  use  about  forty  or  fifty  years  ago.  But 
with  these  dental  tools,  he  would  build  some  corkscrews.  He 
would  get  some  tusk  or  a  horn,  and  then  he  would  get  some  wire 
corkscrew—he  might  buy  some  cheap  corkscrew  in  a  market  some 
place  or  in  a  hardware  store,  and  he  would  remove  the  metal 
part  from  the  handle,  and  then  he  would  put  on  a  more  ornate 
hand -made  handle.  He  would  take  something,  say,  like  the  horn 
of  a  cow,  you  know,  so  big.  The  horns  of  animals  like  cows 
have  a  kind  of  a  nerve  within  them,  making  the  horn  hollow.  The 
nerve  carries  the  blood  supply  and  whatnot  up  into  the  horn. 
Well,  when  you  have  the  horn  of  a  cow,  then,  it's  an  old 
dehydrated  thing;  all  this  fleshy  part  of  it  is  removed  so  it's 
open  on  the  one  end  like  this. 

So  then  this  Jim  Howe  would  take  these  dental  tools  or  some 
little  old  scroll  saw  or  something,  and  at  this  open  end—and 
of  course,  it  would  be  circular  at  the  end  there- -he  would  take 
something,  and  he  would  saw  some  teeth  in  here;  he'd  make  a 
mouth,  this  way.   [Laughter]   If  he'd  cut  r.his  out  this  way  in 
that  little  triangle  of  this  horn  from  here,  down  in  this  end,  . 
the  sharp  point  of  the  horn,  he'd  cut  a  little  slot  down  there 
and  then  he'd  stick  this  little  piece  that  he  took  out  of  here; 
he'd  put  it  down  in  there  and  it  would  maka  the  tail  of  the  fish. 
So  here's  the  fish  with  his  mouth  open  and  a  little  tail  back 
there.  And  maybe  he'd  take  the  other  piece  that  came  out  of 
this  side  and  put  it  on  the  back  for  a  fin,  you  know,  a  dorsal 
fin.  Then,  he'd  glue  something  in  place  fcr  a  couple  of  eyes 
or  drill  a  couple  of  little  holes  for  eyes  for  this  fish  or  shark. 


101 


Timothy:  This  was  just  things  he'd  do  for  a  hobby-just  for  pastime. 

But  that  would  be  made  into  a  corkscrew;  the  corkscrew  part  of 
it  would  stick  out  from  one  part  of  it. 

So  he  did  a  lot  of  monkey  business  like  that  with  these 
old  dental  tools.  And  he  had  a  jewelry  store  make  up  a  little 
tiny  corkscrew  about  that  big,  not  much  bigger  than  a  little 
sugar  cube.  He'd  have  a  little  tiny  thing  like  that  made  up 
in  a  jewelry  shop  to  give  to  me  as  a  gift,  so  that  I  could  say 
that  the  smallest  corkscrew  in  my  collection  came  from  Jim  Howe. 
[Laughter] 

Now,  somebody--!  think  one  of  the  Wentes,  I  think  Herman 
Wente  or  Ernest  Wente--you  know  they  have  a  blacksmith's  shop 
on  the  ranch  where  they  make  a  lot  of  their  own  tools—did  you 
know  that?  You've  interviewed  Ernest  Wente;*  did  you  get  Herman 
Wente  on  tape  too? 

Teiser:   No,  he'd  died  before  we  started. 

Timothy:  Well,  they  do  a  lot  of  interesting  things  out  there,  make  a  lot 
of  their  own  cultivating  tools  and  all  kinds  of  things.   I  think 
that  one  of  the  Wentes  or  one  of  the  workers  in  their  little  old 
home  blacksmith's  shop  twisted  up  a  left-h&nded  corkscrew  and 
gave  it  to  Jim  Howe  so  that  he'd  have  a  left-handed  corkscrew 
in  his  collection.   [Laughter]  You  know,  most  corkscrews  you 
twist  to  the  right.  You  twist  them  clockwise,  If  you  look  down 
at  the  top  of  it.  They  twisted  one  so  he  had  a  left-handed 
corkscrew;  you  had  to  turn  it  the  other  way  to  get  it  into  the 
cork. 

Teiser:   Where  is  your  collection  physically  stored  now? 

Timothy:  Oh,  it's  on  display,  on  the  second  floor  at  the  old  Greystone 
cellar.  Except  the  duplicates.  Haven't  you  seen  any  of  them? 

Teiser:   Not  the  Greystone  cellar.  We've  seen  some  in  the  tasting  room 
here. 

Timothy:  Yes,  there's  about  a  hundred  and  twenty-five  or  a  hdndred  and 

fifty  that  are  here.  We  have  a  little  bit  of  a  traveling  display- 


*Ernest  A.  Wente,  Wine  Making  in  the  Livfermore  Valley,  an 
interview  in  this  series  completed  in  1971. 


102 


Timothy:   another  seventy-five  or  so—that  we  allow  to  travel  around 

once  in  a  while.  But  the  largest  part  of  the  collection  is  on 
public  display  at  St.  Helena.  Most  of  those  that  are  not  at 
St.  Helena  are  duplicates  or  very  close  to  being  duplicates 
of  those  that  are  on  display. 


THE  WINE  MUSEUM 


Teiser:   What  will  go  into  the  Fromm  &  Sichel  museum? 

Timothy:  They're  going  to  call  it  The  Wine  Museum  of  San  Francisco, 

housing  The  Christian  Brothers  Collection,  you  know,  because 
they  are  our  distributing  firm;  they  sell  our  products.  We 
have  no  financial  interest  in  the  museum  itself.  It's  their 
building;  they're  building  the  main  office  for  their  firm. 
And  San  Francisco  is  the  main  headquarters  of  Fromm  &  Sichel. 
Some  years  ago  it  used  to  be  New  York,  but  it's  been  San 
Francisco  for  about  the  last  fifteen  years,  I  guess.  They  are 
going  to  have  a  lot  of  artifacts  having  to  do  with  wine. 
They're  going  to  have  a  lot  of  printed  things,  including 
graphic  arts.  They're  going  to  have  all  kinds  of  things.  And 
then  there  are  some  three-dimensional  artifacts  of  various 
kinds  —  little  statuettes  and  little  images  of  workers  in  the 
vineyards.  Lots  of  things  of  interest,  and  lots  of  things  of 
great  historical  interest.   Some  of  these  things  date  way,  way 
back. 

There's  this  wood  carved  statue  of  St.  Genevieve  of  Paris 
that  dates  from  about  1490  or  so,  and  it's  supposed  to  be 
carved  in  linden  wood.  There's  also  a  very  handsome  little 
statue  of  St.  Urban  of  Langres,  one  of  the  districts  of  France. 
St.  Genevieve  of  Paris  is  said  to  be  the  patronness  of  the  wine 
growers  of  the  area  near  Paris.  The  St.  Genevieve  of  Paris 
statue  is  holding  a  little  model  of  a  church,  the  church  of 
St.  Genevieve,  in  one  hand,  and  then  I  think  in  the  other  hand, 
a  cluster  of  grapes,  indicating  she's  the  patronness  of  the  wine 
growers.  Then  St.  Urban,  he's  holding  a  missal  or  a  bible,  and 
on  top  of  the  book  is  a  cluster  of  grapes,  indicating  that  he's 
the  patron  of  the  wine  growers  of  that  are&,  Langres. 

Now,  I  have  asked  how  many  of  the  corkscrews  they  might 
want  for  the  collection.   I  asked  that  question  when  Norman  Fromm 
was  still  alive,  and  he  passed  away  several  years  ago.  Now,  Mr. 


103 


Timothy:  Ernest  Mittelberger  is  in  charge  of  setting  up  the  program  for 
the  displays,  and  in  general  fitting  the  collection  together 
to  the  floor  space,  and  so  on,  and  actually  organizing  it  and 
handling  all  the  details  of  it.   I  sent  them  a  big  group  of 
corkscrews  about  seventy-five.   I  told  them  they  could  have  all 
of  them  on,  let's  say,  permanent  loan  from  me  or  from  the 
Christian  Brothers,  or  they  could  select  from  that  group  and 
send  back  to  me  whatever  they  didn't  want.  Well,  they  kept 
about  twelve. 


They  expect  to  vary  their  program  of  display.  Now  there 
are  lots  of  books  about  wine.   I  have  a  book  collection,  too, 
and  so  does  Alfred  Fromm.  And  there  are  just  thousands  of  books 
about  wine  that  either  I  or  they  have  at  our  disposal.  So  they 
might  feature  books  one  month,  and  the  next  month  they  might 
feature  something  else. 

Wine  glasses  too.  There's  an  extensive  wine  glass  collection 
that  were  basically  collected  by  Franz  Sichel.  He  is  also  deceased, 
probably  about  eight  or  nine  years  ago. 

Harroun:  Was  that  exhibited  at  the  California  Palace  of  the  Legion  of 
Honor? 

Timothy:  Yes,  that  glass  collection  was  displayed  et  the  Palace  of  the 

Legion  of  Honor  about  four  years  ago.  That's  quite  an  interesting 
collection  of  glasses. 

Teiser:   Do  you  ever  expect  to  do  a  book  on  your  corkscrew  collection? 

Timothy:  Well,  this  interview  is  about  the  nearest  thing  I've  ever  done 
to  a  book.  In  other  words,  if  somebody  other  than  me  would  do 
all  the  work,  that  would  be  fine. 

Teiser:   You  have  other  things  to  do' 

Timothy:   I  just  don't  think  I'll  ever  have  the  time  to  put  together 
anything  in  the  way  of  a  worthwhile  book. 

Teiser:   I  hope  you're  putting  together  at  least  notes  on  the  corkscrews. 

Timothy:  We  have  a  kind  of  catalogue,  you  know—at  least,  they're  reasonably 
well  identified.  We  have  each  corkscrew  described  with  a  little 
bit  of  written  description.  We  put  this  together  mostly  for, 
oh,  our  own  guidance  in  knowing  what  we've  got,  so  we  can  look 
through  a  pile  of  papers  and  visualize  the  collection.  Also, 


104 


Timothy:   for  reasons  like  this,  we  carry  insurance  on  the  corkscrews, 
and  if  something  would  happen  to  a 'lot  of  them—let's  say  ten 
corkscrews  were  stolen  or  something  like  that,  because  of  our 
little  catalogue  numbers  on  them,  we  could  identify  which  were 
those  ten  that  were  stolen.  If  our  inventory  didn't  count  out 
right,  we  could  identify  which  were  the  ones  that  disappeared 
and  maybe  our  insurance  company  then  would  be  satisfied  with 
our  documentation,  paying  us  for  the  loss  of  those  ten  corkscrews. 
I  don't  think  we've  collected  anything  yet  from  the  insurance 
company  on  any  of  the  corkscrews.  About  the  most  we've  ever 
lost  was  two  corkscrews  that  were  stolen  from  a  locked  case 
when  they  were  on  display  in  a  department  store  in  New  York; 
there  were  about  one  hundred  corkscrews  that  were  in  the  display, 
and  they  were  in  locked  cases.   Somebody  managed  to  pick  one 
lock  or  something;  anyway,  they  claimed  that  two  corkscrews 
disappeared  out  of  this  cabinet  while  it  was  locked.  Now,  I 
can't  prove  this,  and  I  wasn't  there.   I  was  out  here  in  California. 


Transcriber:   Keiko  Sugimoto 
Final  Typist:   Keiko  Sugimoto 


APPENDIX  I 

105 


THE   HISTORY  OF 

THE   CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS  WINERIES 
IN  CALIFORNIA 


by 

Brother  Justin  Meyer 
May  5,  1966 


106 


"Christian  Brothers  is  not  a  family  name,  but  rather  is 
the  name  of  a  religious  teaching  Order  of  the  Roman  Catholic 
Church.   The  income  derived  from  their  winemaking  business  is 
primarily  used  to  finance  the  educational  goals  of  the  Order." 
These  are  the  words  of  a  tour  guide  which  I  overheard  while 
walking  through  The  Christian  Brothers  Aging  Cellars  at 
St.  Helena  recently.   But,  how  frequently  at  wine  tastings 
and  other  functions  have  I  had  to  explain  this  distinction 
myself?  Today  The  Christian  Brothers  products  have  become  so 
well  known  nationwide  that  even  those  who  are  not  acquainted 
with  the  Brothers  primary  work  of  Christian  education  know  the 
name  "Christian  Brothers"  for  excellence  in  production  of  wines, 
champagne,  vermouth  and  brandy. 

When  in  1881*,  in  Martinez,  California,  Brother  Victor ick 
experimented  with  his  first  lot  of  wine,  little  did  he  realize 
the  far  reaching  results  his  product  would  have.  The  Brothers 
had  purchased  70  acres  of  land  in  1879  in  Martinez  principally 
for  a  site  for  their  novitiate,  or  training  center  for  young 
Brothers.  With  the  property  was  included  12  acres  of  vineyard. 

In  1882,  with  the  permission  of  his  superior,  Brother 
Victorick,  along  with  Brother  Cecilian,  crushed  the  second 
year's  grapes  in  a  water  trough,  using  as  a  crusher  a  large 
club  at  the  end  of  a  handle  which  they  called  a  "mule's  leg". A 


*The  pamphlet,  "History  of  Winemaking  at  Marti aez",  says  1891, 
but  this  does  not  agree  with  several  other  dates.   It  is  pre 
sumed  that  this  was  a  misprint  and  the  actual  date  was  1881. 

-i  See  literature  cited  for  references. 


107 

• 

Evidently  the  experiment  was  a  success,  so  much  so  that 
in  1883  the  "mule's  leg"  was  abandoned  and  a  crusher  and  some 
tanks  were  purchased.   By  1887  the  Brothers  were  purchasing 
grapes  from  their  neighbors,  Mr.  Babatt  and  Mr.  Frasher,  and 
commenced  to  sell  wines  for  commercial  purposes.—  Brother 
Azarie,  the  genial  successor  of  Brother  Victorick,  operated 
the  winery  until  his  death  in  1897.   He  came  to  be  known  as 
"the  schoolmaster  of  viticulture"  for  the  whole  neighborhood 
of  Martinez.— 

It  is  known  that  Brother  Raphael  was  assigned  to  Martinez 
in  1904  and  headed  the  winery  until  1935.—  In  between  the  death 
of  Brother  Azarie  and  the  arrival  of  Brother  Raphael  it  seems 
that  Brother  Cecilian,  described  as  "a  very  good,  very  faithful, 
if  rugged  workman"  filled  in  as  operator*  of  the  winery.   Brother 
Victorick,  who  started  the  winemaking  and  then  devoted  most 
of  his  time  to  other  employments  at  Martinez  until  1911,  probably 
guided  the  work  of  Brother  Cecilian.   It  is  recalled  by  Brother 
U.  Basil,  now  retired  at  Mont  La  Salle,  Napa,  that  Brother 
Victorick  taught  Brother  Raphael  the  rudiments  of  wine  production, 
and  frequently  would  take  him  to  meet  and  visit  with  the  local 
Italians  to  ask  questions  and  learn  more  about  the  art.— 

In  1904  the  business  had  proven  profitable  enough  that 
a  new  three-story  winery  building  was  erected  in  Martinez. 
This  building  was  constructed  incorporating  all  of  the  modern 
conveniences  of  the  industry  at  that  time.   The  hand  cranked 
crusher  and  press  were  found  on  the  third  floor.   Lugs  full 
of  grapes  were  transported  from  the  delivery  wagons  up  a  tram 
way  by  the  power  of  a  horse-drawn  conveyor.   On  the  second  floor 
were  the  fermenting  tanks  from  which  the  new  wine  was  drained 


108 

to  the  aging  cooperage  on  the  ground  floor.   All  wine  was  moved 
by  gravity  flow.   Not  until  many  years  later  was  the  first 
electric  pump,  a  one-horsepower  unit  with  a  one  inch  discharge, 
purchased.   No  room  was  provided  for  bottling  because  at  the1 
time  most  of  the  wine  was  sold  to  Briests,  Brothers  or  commercially 
as  bulk  wine  in  small  kegs  and  barrels.— 

Yet,  with  all  this  success  and  progress,  the  wines  must  have 
left  something  to  be  desired  by  present  quality  standards.   Brother' 
Raphael's  training  in  winemaking  was  spotty  and  his  favorite 
motto:  "hard  work  makes  good  wine"  indicates  more  good  desire 
than  skill  and  ability.   During  the  period  Mr.  A.  J.  Salazar, 
"one  of  the  best  experts  in  wines,"  was  hired  as  a  consultant 
winemaker  to  do  tasting  and  blending.— 

The  advent  of  prohibition  in  1919  didn't  seem  to  affect 
the  Brothers  operation  too  adversely  because  they  were  able 
to  continue  production  of  sacramental  and  medicinal  wines. 
If  anything,  prohibition  proved  providential  for  the  Brothers. 
By  1930  it  seems  that  the  town  of  Martinez  was  expanding  and 
encroaching  on  the  Brothers  property  and  privacy,  which  was  not 
desirable  for  the  spiritual  training  of  the  young  Brothers. 
Because  of  this  the  Brothers  began  to  search  for  a  new  site 
for  their  Novitiate.   It  so  happened  that  the  Giersberger  winery, 
8  miles  northwest  of  Napa,  was  for  sale.   Mrr  Theodore  Gier, 
owner  of  the  winery  and  338  acres  of  surrounding  land,  was  feeling 
the  economic  effects  of  prohibition.   The  grape  juice  business 
was  not  too  profitable  and  bootlegging  was  risky.   So  on  May  29, 
1930  the  Brothers  purchased  the  property  and  began  construction 
of  the  monastery,  which  was  completed  and  ready  for  occupation 
on  April  11,  1932.   The  history  of  the  purchase  indicates  that 


109 
there  were  100,000  gallons  of  dry  wine  included  in  the  trans- 

Q 

action.—  This  is  a  little  confusing,  because  according  to  law 
Mr.  Gier  was  not  supposed  to  have  made  any  wine  between  1919 
and  1930.   It  could  have  been  that  this  was, grape  juice  which 
could  be  easily  converted  by  fermentation  into  wine.   Or, 
considering  the  state  of  winemaking  technology  at  the  time, 
it  might  have  been  that  it  was  almost  impossible  to  prevent 
"wild  fermentations"  from  converting  the  stored  grape  juice 
to  wine.   Old  time  "bootleggers"  tell  of  methods  of  hiding 
illegal  wine  such  as  putting  a  layer  of  denser  grape  juice 
on  the  bottom  of  a  tank  and  floating  the  lighter  wine  on  top 
of  the  juice.   Then  if  an  inspector  required  a  sample  it  was 
drawn  from  a  spigot  at  the  bottom  of  the  tank  and  only  juice 
was  drawn.   The  fact  is  that  the  Brothers  acquired  100,000 
gallons  of  dry  "wine"  with  the  purchase. 

Brother  Timothy,  present  Cellarmaster  of  The  Christian 
Brothers,  recalls  being  assigned  in  the  summer  of  1931  to  help 
Brother  Raphael  and  Mr.  Frank  Sommer,  cooper  and  winemaker  at 
the  Giersberger  winery,  to  dismantle  and  move  several  tanks 
from  Martinez  to  Napa.   54,000  gallons  of  "nearly  sweet  wine" 
were  also  moved  to  the  new  home.   The  City  of  Martinez  owned 
the  Martinez-Benicia  ferry,  which  at  the  time  was  the  only 
way  across  that  part  of  the  bay.   Brother  Timothy  recalls  that 
the  city  allowed  the  Brothers  to  move  everything  across  the 
ferry  at  no  charge.   It  is  not  certain  whether  this  was  because 
of  the  city's  special  esteem  for  the  Brothers  or  a  sign  of 

Q 

their  extreme  joy  at  seeing  the  Brothers  move.— 


-  4  - 


110 


The  Napa  property  dates  back  to  1864  when  a  Mr.  H.  Huderaann 
laid  out  the  central  gardens  of  the  estate.   He  also  planted 
the  initial  vineyard  some  time  before  1882,  the  year  when  he 
was  forced  out  of  his  property  by  a  number  of  material  mis- 

• 

fortunes.   He  had  been  concentrating  on  raising  cattle  and 
sheep,  the  vineyard  having  been  more  of  a  hcbby  and  a  new 
adventure.   When  forced  to  sell  and  leave  the  property,  Mr. 
Hudemann  did  so  at  night,  being  unable  -  as  he  is  reported 
to  have  said  -  to  part  with  it  in  full  view  of  all  its  beauty 
and  charms. 

In  1884  Rudolf  Jordan  bought  the  ranch  which  was  then 
called  the  "Spout  Farm"  for  its  numerous  springs.   He  first 
changed  the  name  to  "Lotus  Farm",  being  fond  of  an  Egyptian- 
Lotus  that  grew  in  the  artificial  lake  on  the  grounds.   Later, 
after  having  planted  75  more  acres  of  vineyard,  the  place 
became  known  as  "Lotus  Vineyard".   Jordan  sold  it  to  Theodore 
Gier  in  1900.   It  was  Jordan  who  wrote  in  July,  1930: 

"When  the  writer  was  informed  that  this 
place  had  been  acquired  by  The  Christian 
Brothers  for  an  educational  institution, 
he  felt  that  it  had  finally  come  into  proper 
hands,  because  the  influence  of  its  wooded 
hills  cannot  help  but  be  beneficial  in  the 
education  of  young  men.   For  its  quiet 
seclusion  should  further  the  contemplation 
of  the  Infinite  Mind  in  the  deep  shade  of 
its  eternal  redwoods." 

Gier,  impressed  by  Sequoia  Gigantea  tree  which  Hudemann 
had  planted,  and  which  had  developed  to  a  heel thy,  living 
monument  to  this  man's  name,  called  his  property  "Sequoia 
Vineyard."   Gier  himself  went  into  grape  growing  and  wine- 
making.   He  planted  additional  acres  of  grapes  and  built 


Ill 


a  spacious  stone  wine  cellar  in  1903.   As  a  wine  merchandiser 
he  met  early  success  based  to  a  large  extent  on  his  tireless 
striving  for  quality.   With  the  advent  of  Prohibition,  how 
ever,  the  years  of  prosperity  ended  and  his  fortune  declined 
until  he  sold  out  to  the  Brothers  in  1930. — 

1934  marks  the  beginning  of  an  important  chapter  in  the 
winery  history.   Not  only  had  Prohibition  ended,  bringing  new 
life  to  the  industry,  but  it  also  was  the  year  of  the  appoint 
ment  of  Brother  S.  John  to  the  winery  staff. —  He  started 
out  as  many  other  Brothers  in  the  history  of  the  operation, 
as  a  barrel  scrubber.   Within  a  year's  time  he  had  advanced 
to  the  position  of  general  manager  because  of  circumstances  as 
well  as  his  business  knowledge  acquired  before  he  joined  the 
Brothers.   It  seems  that  there  were  some  differences  of  opinion 
between  Brother  John  and  his  superior  in  the  winery,  Brother 
Raphael,  which  hurried  this  advance.   Both  were  deeply  religious 
men  of  strong  principle.   Brother  Raphael  was  a  believer  in 
the  strict,  literal  interpretation  of  the  law.   He  would 
frequently  command  the  younger  Brother  to  repeat  jobs  or  to 
do  works  of  questionable  value  simply  to;test  his  obedience. 
While  these  procedures  might  have  been  calculated  to  instill 
the  perfect  obedience  and  patience,  they  seemed  to  have  little 
basis  as  sound  business  practices.   Several  other  factors 
disturbed  Brother  John.   While  he  respected  the  older  Brother 
he  was  quick  to  find  that  Brother  Raphael's  training  in  wine- 
making  did  not  enable  him  to  answer  many  questions  crucial  to 
the  production  of  fine  wines.   In  addition,  Brother  John  found 
that  the  old  winemaker  was  blind  to  the  fact  that  some  secular 


112 


representatives  were  dishonestly  taking  advantage  of  the 
Brothers.   Finally,  under  the  burden  of  all  these  factors, 
the  young  Brother  approached  the  Brother  Provincial  and  con 
fessed  that  if  something  wasn't  done  to  improve  the  existing 
situation  he  could  not  continue  in  this  work.   Recognizing 
the  honesty  of  the  young  Brother,  the  Provincial  put  him  in 
complete  charge  of  the  winery. —  Soon,  Brother  Raphael, 
after  many  years  of  devoted  service  to  God  and  his  Order, 

was  retired  at  Mont  La  Salle  where  he  spent  his  last  years 

13 
until  his  death  in  1944.— 

One  of  Brother  John's  first  projects  was  to  enroll  part 
time  at  the  University  of  California  in  Bexkeley  in  the 
Food  Science  and  Winemaking  classes  of  Professor  W.  V.  Cruess. 
This  was  typical  of  his  thorough  grass-root  approach  to  every 
thing.   Among  the  first  purchases  of  the  new  manager  were  a 

14 
pasteurizer  and  a  refrigeration  unit. —  This  would  seem  to 

substantiate  the  previous  observation  that  the  wines  made 
during  Brother  Raphael's  time  were  probably  not  of  very  high 
quality. 

There  were  many  stability  problems  with  the  wine,  and 
with  his  newly  acquired  knowledge  from  the  university  and  this 
added  equipment,  Brother  John  hoped  to  resolve  them.   Brother 
John  was  so  important  in  the  history  of  The  Christian  Brothers 
winery  that  if  this  paper  did  not  convey  an  accurate  and 
complete  picture  of  him  to  the  reader  it  would  certainly  be 
an  injustice.   And  yet,  in  a  work  of  this  size,  such  a  com 
prehensive  picture  would  be  almost  impossible.   Brother  John's 
death  at  the  age  of  49  on  April  16,  1962  came  es  a  shock  to 


113 

everyone  associated  with  him.   A  quote  from  Brother  T.  Jerome, 
Provincial  of  The  Christian  Brothers  at  the  time  of  Brother 
John's  death,  gives  us  a  bit  of  an  insight  into  the  Brother's 
personality:  "We  Brothers  recognize  in  Brother  John  an  astute 
businessman,  the  man  who  built  The  Christian  Brothers  winery." 

Brother  John,  in  spite  of  his  business  success,  felt 
that  one  of  his  greatest  achievements  was  the  establishment 
of  a  free  grammar  school  for  boys  and  girls,  St.  La  Salle 
School  at  Reedley.   But  one  would  be  incorrect  to  think  of 
Brother  John  as  a  shrewd  businessman  who  had  built  this  school 
as  a  pet  project  and  a  source  of  relaxation  when  he  visited  it. 
Mr.  Herman  Ar china 1,  manager  of  The  Christian  Brothers  Reedley 
winery,  recalls  how  Brother  John  used  to  delight  in  sitting  in 
the  school  yard  to  observe  the  children  during  lunch  period. 
Mr.  Archinal  describes  Brother  John  as  a  "student  of  human 
nature*. —  It  was  in  the  school  yard  where,  observing 
uninhibited  children,  he  learned  so  much  about  the  people 
with  whom  he  had  to  deal  in  the  business  world. 

He  could  watch  two  children  playing  and  predict  if  a  fight 
or  a  friendship  was  soon  to  develop.   In  the  same  way  he  was 
noted  for  his  ability  to  diagnose  persons  with  whom  he  had  to 
do  business.   Dishonesty  did  not  surprise  him  because  he 
frequently  expected  it  from  certain  people.   Always  vitally 
interested  in  everything  and  everyone  around  him.  Brother  John 
impressed  everyone  he  met  as  a  vibrant  and  dynamic  personality. 

In  1935  Brother  Timothy  joined  the  winery  staff.   Four 
years  earlier  he  had  been  assigned  to  the  summer  job  of  moving 
several  wine  tanks  from  Martinez  to  Napa.   Now  he  was  back  at 


114 


the  winery  to  stay.   Thirty-one  years  later  he  is  still  very 
active  as  Cellarmaster  of  The  Christian  Brothers  winery. 

The  next  ten  years  were  extremely  difficult  for  the 
Brothers  operation.   Mont  La  Salle  had  been  purchased  in  the 
depths  of  the  depression  on  little  more  collateral  than  faith. 
From  1930  until  the  early  forties  the  Brothers  were  constantly 
in  debt  to  the  extent  that  at  one  time  papers  were  drawn  up 
for  the  sale  of  the  winery,  and  all  acreage  except  for  ten 
acres  which  included  the  monastery  proper.   Faith  and  diligence, 
and  shrewd  work  by  Brother  John  and  financial  advisors,  enabled 
the  Brothers  to  go  on. 

The  1940 's  brought  prosperity  to  all  business.   The  winery 
and  liquor  business  was  no  exception.   The  principal  problem 
was  now  to  supply  the  demand.   In  1941  the  Brothers  had  begun 
to  blend  and  sell  brandy.   In  the  early  forties  the  brandy 
business  was  doing  so  well,  that  in  1945  when  the  Mount  Tivy 

Winery  in  Reedley,  California  was  put  up  for  sale,  the  Brothers 

16 
were  ready  to  expand  their  business  operation." 

With  the  purchase  of  the  Mount  Tivy  Winery  the  Brothers 
acquired  a  considerable  inventory  of  brandy  and  sweet  wines. 
Up  until  this  time  the  Brothers  had  not  made  any  of  their  own 
commercial  brandy.   The  still  at  Mont  La  Salle  had  been  used 
only  to  make  high  proof,  or  fortifying  brandy.   All  commercial 
brandy  had  been  bought  from  other  wineries,  then  aged  and  blended 
by  the  Brothers. 

In  1947  a  new  Vulcan  still  was  purchased,  and  a  fine 
distiller,  Mr.  Phil  Brighton,  was  hired.   Much  of  the  success 


115 


and  quality  of  The  Christian  Brothers  brandy  is  attributed  \.o 
the  genius  of  this  demanding  perfectionist.   Today  the  Brothers 
may  have  the  largest  inventory  of  brandy  in  the  world. 

The  purchase  of  this  new  plant  enabled  the  Brothers  to 

t 
divide  their  operation  so  that  the  sweet  wines,  vermouth  and 

brandy  would  all  be  produced  in  the  warmer  San  Joaquin  Valley, 
where  the  climate  is  more  conducive  to  production  of  grapes 
suitable  for  this  purpose. 

At  the  same  time  the  dry  wine  sales  were  constantly  increasing 
and  the  Brothers  found  themselves  once  again  cramped  for  space. 
In  1945,  in  need  of  more  storage  space  for  dry  wines,  the  Brothers 
rented  cooperage  from  Roma  Wine  Company  in  the  old  Greystone  cellars 
at  St.  Helena.   By  1950  the  Brothers  were  leasing  one  million 
gallons  of  storage  space,  and  in  April  of  that  year  bought  the 
old  stone  winery  from  Cresta  Blanca,  owned  by  Schenley  Industries. 
This  building  has  quite  an  interesting  history. 

What  prompted  the  construction  of  what  ir,  reputed  to  be 
the  "largest  stone  winery  in  the  world"  in  an  area  of  relatively 
small  grape  acreage?   The  reason  is  unique  in  California's 
wine  history.   By  1880  the  rapid  development  of  the  vineyards 
in  the  Napa  Valley  resulted  in  nearly  12,000  acres  devoted  to 
wine-grape  growing.   This  closely  approximates  the  present 
day  plantings.   Although  many  small  wineries  were  in  operation, 
growers  depended  mainly  on  the  bulk  wine  market  in  San  Francisco 
for  an  outlet.   This  market  had  become  highly  competitive, 
and  under  such  adverse  conditions  Napa  Valley  wines  were  subject 
to  many  vicious  price-fixing  practices  and  dictatorial  policies 


set  forth  by  San  Francisco  wine  merchants.   It.  was  estimated 
that  the  wine  growers  loss  of  revenue  under  these  conditions 
exceeded  $50,000  annually.   With  a  firm  resolve  to  fight  back, 
the  growers  banded  together  seeking  a  means  to  rescue  the  Napa 
Valley  wine  business  from  the  influence  of  the  price-fixing 
combine. 

In  the  forefront  of  this  effort  to  rescue  the  wine  business 
from  economic  chaos  was  William  B.  Bourn  II.   Rancher,  financier, 
president  of  the  San  Francisco  Spring  Valley  Water  Works,  and 
later  developer  of  the  old  Empire  Gold  Mine  at  Grass  Valley, 
Bourn  possessed  rare  qualities  of  leadership.   With  bold 
imagination  and  a  keen  sense  of  business  acumen,  Bourn  conceived 
the  idea  of  erecting  a  huge  wine  cellar  equipped  with  the  finest 
cooperage  to  bring  Napa  Valley  wines  to  maturity,  and  then  to 
market  them  as  a  quality  product.   Such  an  operation  would  pro 
vide  the  growers  a  facility  to  store  their  wines  at  a  nominal 
cost,  and,  equally  important,  permit  them  to  borrow  money  on 
their  wines  to  continue  their  farming  operations.   (Wine  at 
that  time  was  not  considered  acceptable  collateral  for  bank 
loans) . 

Obviously,  such  a  facility  would  require  considerable 
capital.   Subsidies  were  arranged  whereby  one  hundred  growers 
would  subscribe  five  percent  of  their  grape  crop  for  a  period 
of  three  years  to  finance  the  project.  With  soms  capital  pro 
vided  by  Bourn  and  his  partner,  Mr.  Everett  Wise,  together 
with  the  grape  subsidies,  sufficient  funds  were  raised  to 

initiate  the  project.   Construction  started  in  April  1888. — 

18 
On  June  18,  1888  the  cornerstone  was  laid. —  By  autumn  of  that 

year  sufficient  progress  had  been  made  to  accommodate  the  crop 


117 


of  that  year.   By  the  end  of  1889  construction  was  essentially 
complete,  including  a  distillery  with  a  capacity  of  one  thousand  gallons 
per  day.   The  incredibly  short  period  of  time  taken  to  build 
the  winery  not  only  signifies  the  urgency  of  the  project,  but 
illustrates  the  singleness  of  purpose  and  drive  exerted  by  Bourn 
to  bring  it  to  completion. 

Unfortunately,  soon  after  the  completion  of  the  winery, 
the  phylloxera  plague  hit  the  valley  in  1894  doing  away  with 

any  grape  surplus.   The  same  year  the  winery  was  sold  to  Mr. 

19 
Charles  Carpy.—   This  was  the  first  of  six  sales  of  the  winery, 

which,  because  of  its  tremendous  size,  became  a  real  "white 
elephant".  Among  its  owners  have  been  Bisceglia  Brothers, 
Central  California  Wineries  and  Schenley  Industries.   The  low 
point  in  the  proud  old  building's  history  was  in  1931,  when  in 

the  economic  hardships  of  the  depression  and  prohibition  the 

20 
entire  property  was  auctioned  at  §10,000.— 

At  the  present  "Greystone"  is  used  as  an  aging  cellar  for 
dry  wines  and  is  the  center  of  the  Brothers  champagne  production. 
Mr.  Auguste  Pirio  is  the  champagne  maker  in  charge  of  the 
Charmat  process  production. 

A  very  important  feature  in  recent  history  has  been  the 
winery's  participation  in  the  Los  Angeles  County  and  the 
California  State  Fairs.   The  Brothers  came  to  the  Napa  Valley 
long  after  many  of  the  other  name  wineries  had  been  long 
established.   No  business  or  industry  is  overjoyed  at  the 
prospect  of  new  competition.   These  monks  would  have  to  prove 
their  worth  and  quality  and  make  a  name  for  themselves.   The 
Brothers  had  several  factors  working  against  them;  one  obvious 


118 

drawback  was  that  being  religious,  the  Brothers  were  not  much 
for  social  functions,  and  consequently,  didn't  do  the  selling 
job  that  many  other  winery  operators  could.   There  was  another 
aspect  connected  with  the  Brothers  being  religious;  for  many 
reasons,  one  being  respect  for  those  who  conscientiously  think 
that  religious  shouldn't  be  in  the  wine  or  spirit  business, 
the  Brothers  shunned  publicity.   They  did  this  even  to  the 
extent  of  not  letting  any  pictures  be  taken  by  reporters  or 
giving  articles  on  the  winery.  Writers  are  not  soon  to  forget, 
and  today  it  is  not  infrequent  that  the  Brothers  wines  are 
noticibly  absent  in  articles  on  California  wines.   The  results 
of  the  fair  wine  judgings  of  the  last  ten  years  should  seem  to 
indicate  that  these  writers  who  overlook  the  Brothers  wines  are 
not  basing  their  choices  on  quality  alone. 

Beginning  in  1949  the  Brothers  started  to  enter  some  wines 
in  the  fair  judgings  at  Sacramento  and  Los  Angeles.   At  the 
time  most  of  the  premium  wineries  were  represented.   In  1955 
it  was  decided  that  it  was  time  to  see  how  the  Brothers  wines 

» 

stood  up  quality  wise  to  anything  in  the  fair.   It  was  time 
for  the  young  Napa  Valley  winery  to  seat  itself  with  the  elders, 
and  either  be  accepted  or  humiliated.   The  results  have  been 
most  gratifying  and  reassuring,  to  the  Brothers  winery  at  least. 

Beginning  in  1955,  and  including  evesy  year  up  to  the  present, 
the  Brothers  wines  have  won  more  awards  each  year  than  any  other 
winery.   In  the  open  division  of  the  two  fairs  The  Christian 
Brothers  wines  have  won  186  gold  medals,  219  silver,  180  bronze 
and  90  honorable  mentions.   291  of  these  awards  have  been  top  in 
their  class.   This  may  happen  when  the  judges  feel  that  no  wines 


• 

in  a  class  deserves  a  gold  medal.   Then  the  top  award  may  be1 
a  silver  or  bronze  medal.   In  the  special  division,  which  is 
more  limited,  the  Brothers  wines  have  done  just  as  well:  100 
first  awards,  68  seconds,  54  thirds  and  5  merit  awards.   In 
all,  this  amounts  to  some  1,002  awards  in  the  last  11  years, 
a  recognition  of  constant  striving  for  quality. — 

In  recent  years  the  Brothers  have  taken  steps  to  insure 
continued  quality  standards  in  their  operation.   The  Brothers 
have  acquired  nearly  1,000  acres  of  vineyard  in  the  Napa  Valley, 
and  another  1,000  in  the  San  Joaquin  Valley,  to  insure  them 
selves  of  a  basic  supply  of  the  varietal  grapes  desired  to 
produce  fine  wines  and  brandy.   This  represents  a  small  portion 
of  the  grapes  needed  for  the  size  of  the  operation  today,  but 
at  the  same  time  is  the  nucleus  of  each  year's  vintage. 

Last  year  a  new  warehouse  was  opened  at  St.  Helena  primarily 
for  the  storage  of  bottled  table  wines.  Much  is  said  about 
the  aging  of  wines  in  wooden  casks  and  tanks.  Anyone  who  is 
acquainted  with  the  quality  factor  known  as  bottle  bouquet  can 
attest  to  the  benefits  of  additional  bottle  aging,  or  "binning" 
as  it  is  called.   It  was  for  this  purpose  that  a  warehouse  with 
the  floor-space  of  a  football  field  was  built  tc  accommodate 
approximately  160,000  cases  of  bottled  wines.   Connected  to' 
the  warehouse  is  a  progressive  one  million  gallon  stainless 
steel  bulk  wine  storage  cellar,  which  will  be  used  primarily' 
in  the  storage  of  white  table  wines. 

At  present  a  mammoth  warehouse,  larger  than  that  at  St. 
Helena,  is  u/.der  construction  at  Reedley  for  the  storage  of 
bottled  wines  and  brandy. 


120 


Seventy-five  years  later  the  results  of  Brother  Victorick's 
experiment  might  cause  him  to  blink  his  eyes  in  disbelief.   And 
yet  basically,  nothing  has  changed.   This  simple  Brother  long 
ago  started  a  small  enterprise  to  help  his  Institute  to  carry 
out  its  primary  work.   Today  many  may  view  The  Christian  Brothers 
winery  as  a  large  business,  one  which  has  received  notable 
recognition  in  its  field.   Yet  any  of  the  Brothers  involved 
in  the  winery  will  tell  you  that  it  is  only  a  small  part  of 
a  great  picture.   These  Brothers,  who  at  one  time  joined  a 
religious  congregation  for  the  purpose  of  helping  and  educating 
young  people,  have  been  appointed  to  the  challenge  of  becoming 
the  best  winemakers  and  businessmen  possible  so  that  through 
the  support  of  the  winery  The  Christian  Brothers  might  continue 
their  work  in  Christian  education.       * 


121 


LITERATURE  CITED 


1.  Anonymous;  date  unknown;  History  of  Winemaking  at  Martinez 

2.  Contra  Costa  Gazette,  Martinez,  Calif;  1924 

3.  Fenlon,  Edward;  Dec.  1957;  a  letter  regarding  memories  of 
Brother  Azarie 

4.  Raphael,  Brother;  Necrological  Notice 

5.  Basil,  Brother;  April  1966;  Personal  Interview 

6.  Anonymous;  date  unknown;  History  of  Winemaking  at  Martinez 

7 .  Ibid 

8.  Ibid 

9.  Timothy,  Brother;  April  1966;  Personal  Interview 

10.  The  Wine  Review,  March  1945 

11.  John,  Brother;  Necrological  Notice 

12.  Timothy,  Brother;  April  1966;  Personal  Interview 

13.  Raphael,  Brother;  Necrological  Notice 

14.  Timothy,  Brother;  April  1966;  Personal  Interview 

15.  Archinal,  Herman;  April  1966;  Personal  Interview 

16.  The  Wine  Review,  July  1945 

17.  St.  Helena  Star,  April  13,  1888 

18.  St.  Helena  Star,  June  15,  1888 

I 

19.  St.  Helena  Star,  June  1,  1894 

20.  St.  Helena  Star,  May  1931 

21.  California  State  Fair  Wine  Judgings,  1955-1965 


122 


APPENDIX  II 


HISTORY  OF  GREYSTONE 

Built  1888  and  1889  by  William  Bowers  Bourn  II  and  Everett  E.  Wise. 
Sold  May  26,  1894  by  William  B.  Bourn  II  to  Charles  Carpy  and  Company. 

Sold  August  10,  1894  by  Carpy  to  California  Wine  Association  (CWA  was 
incorporated  on  that  date). 

Sold  April  1,  1925  by  CWA  to  Bisceglia  Brothers  of  San  Jose. 

Sold  January  16,  1931  by  Bisceglia  Brothers  to  California  Vineyards 
Company. 

Sold  December  31,  1932  by  California  Vineyards  Company  to  Bisceglia 
Brothers  at  public  auction  for  $10,000. 

Ownership  transferred  in  1938  from  Bisceglia  Brothers  to  Bank  of  America. 

Sold  April  19,  1940  by  Bank  of  America  to  Central  California  Wineries, 
Incorporated . 

Sold  November  20,  1942  by  Central  California  Wineries,  Inc.  to  Schenley. 

Sold  April  27,  1950  by  Schenley  to  St.  Helena  Wine  Cellars,  Inc.,  a  wholly 
owned  subsidiary  of  Mont  La  Salle  Vineyards,  which  was  dissolved  by  merger 
with  Mont  La  Salle  Vineyards  on  March  31,  1971. 


Corrected  March  5,  1974 
Brother  Timothy 


APPENDIX  III 

VINTNIIS  SINCI    111] 


the  OhristianBrothers 


123 


f  0  101  It*.  NAM.  CAUFMNIA  Mill  •  III  f«>  III   IM« 


THE . CHRISTIAN  BROTHERS  WINE  AND  CHAMPAGNE  CELLARS 

by  Carl  Wehr 

Visitors  to  the  Napa  Valley,  driving  along  State  Highway 
#29,  are  invariably  awed  when,  just  north  of  St.  Helena,  they 
suddenly  come  upon  a  hugh  castle-like  stone  building  set  im 
posingly  against  a  hillside.  Originally  called  Greystone, 
this  massive  structure  built  of  sandstone  and  rising  three 
stories  above  ground  level,  is  identified  as  The  Christian 
Brothers  Wine  and  Champagne  Cellars. 

Long  a  landmark  in  upper  Napa  Valley,  this  winery  has 
played  an  important  role  in  the  history  of  winemaking  in  this 
region.   It  is  the  principal  aging  cellars  of  the  Christian 
Brothers  for  their  production  of  fine  Napa  Valley  table  wines. 
Complete  facilities  for  the  production  of  their  champagne 
and  other  sparkling  wines  are  also  contained  in  this  building. 

The  purpose  of  constructing  what  is  reputed  to  be  the 
"largest  stone  winery  in  the  world"  here  in  an  area  of  rel 
atively  small  grape  acreage  is  unique  in  California's  wine 
history.   By  1880  the  rapid  development  of  vineyards  in  the 
valley  had  resulted  in  eleven  thousand  acres  of  wine-grape 
plantings 0   Although  many  small  wineries  were  in  operation, 
growers  depended  mainly  on  the  bulk  wine  market  in  San 


124 


Francisco  for  an  outlet.   This  market  had  become  highly 
competitive  and,  under  such  adverse  conditions,  Napa  Valley 
wines  were  not  given  the  consideration  due  a  fine  vintage. 
Moreover,  vicious  price  fixing  practices  and  dictatorial 
policies, established  by  the  wine  merchants  ware  thoroughly 
demoralizing  to  the  valley  growers.  It  was  estimated  their 
loss  in  revenue  under  these  conditions  exceeded  $50,000 
annually,  with  a  firm  resolve  to  fight  back,  the  growers 
banded  together,  seeking  a  means  to  rescue  the  valley  wine 
business  from  the  influence  of  the  price  fixing  combine. 

In  the  forefront  of  this  effort  to  rescue  the  valley 
wine  business  from  economic  chaos  was  William  B.  Bourn. 
Rancher,  financier,  president  of  San  Francisco  Spring  Valley 
Water  Works,  and  later  developer  of  the  Empire  Gold  Mine  at 
Grass  Valley,  Bourn  possessed  rare  qualities  of  leadership. 
With  bold  imagination  and  a  keen  sense  of  business  acumen. 
Bourn  conceived  the  idea  of  erecting  a  hugh  wine  cellar, 
equipped  with  the  finest  cooperage,  to  bring  Napa  Valley 
wines  to  maturity,  and  then  to  market  thorn  as  a  quality 
product. 

Such  an  operation  would  provide  the  growers  with  a 
facility  to  store  their  wines  at  a  nominal  cost;  and,  equally 
important,  permit  them  to  borrow  money  on  their  wines  to  con 
tinue  their  farming  operations.   (Wine  was  not  at  that  time 
considered  acceptable  collateral  for  bank  loans).   Obviously 
such  a  facility  would  require  considerable  capital.   Sub- 


-2- 


125 


sidles  were  arranged  whereby  one  hundred  growers  would  sub 
scribe  five  percent  of  their  grape  crop  for  a  period  of  three 
years  to  finance  the  project.  With  some  capital  provided  by 
Bourn  and  his  partner,  Everett  Wise,  together  with  the  grape 
subsidies,  sufficient  funds  were  raised. 

• 

Construction  started  in  April,  1888.  On  June  18,  1888, 
the  cornerstone  was  laid  in  the  southeast  corner  of  the  buil 
ding.   By  autumn  of  that  year  sufficient  progress  had  been 
made  to  accommodate  the  crop  for  that  year.  By  the  end  of 
1889,  construction  was  essentially  complete,  including  a 
distillery  with  a  capacity  of  one  thousand  gallons  per  day, 
The  incredibly  short  period  of  time  taken  to  build  the  winery 
(less  than  two  years)  not  only  signifies  the  urgency  of  the 
project,  but  illustrates  the  singleness  of  purpose  and  drive 
exerted  by  Bourn  to  bring  it  to  completion. 

Thus  today,  Greystone  stands  as  a  monument  to  those 
growers  who,  nearly  a  century  ago,  had  faith  in  the  quality 
of  their  wines.  Their  conviction  has  been  confirmed  as 
attested  by  the  prestige  with  which  Napa  Valley  wines  are 
regarded  by  wine  connoisseurs  throughout  the  world. 

Not  only  is  the  massiveness  and  beauty  of  this  building 
arresting.  Equally  remarkable  is  the  planning  and  foresight 
which  attended  its  construction  with  respect  to  plant  layout, 
with  little  modification,  the  transition  from  19th  century 
operation  to  modern  methods  and  equipment,  has  been  smoothly 
effected.   This  can  be  better  appreciated  by  examining  the 


-3- 


126 


building  in  more  detail. 

The  building  measures  four  hundred  feet  in  length  by 
seventy-eight  feet  in^width,  with  a  projection  at  the  front 
measuring  twenty  feet  by  fifty  feet.   Rising  three  floors  in 
height,  with  a  spacious  attic  (in  which  originally  was 
located  the  crushers) ,  the  total  floor  space  i»  just  under 
three  acres.  Both  the  transverse  and  exterior  walls  of  hand-  . 
cut  native  stone  are  two  feet  in  thickness.   The  visitor, 
after  entering  through  an  impressive  Roman  arch,  finds  him 
self  in  a  broad  vestibule,  flanked  on  one  side  by  a  small 
sample  room  and  on  the  other  by  the  old  office.  Both  of* 
these  spaces  contain  the  original  cedar  paneling,  which  has 
taken  on  a  soft  luster  through  the  years. 

In  the  lounge  the  high  vaulted  ceiling  and  masonry -walls 
are  complemented  by  the  tongue  and  groove  paneling  of  the 
huge  doors.  Here,  the  Christian  Brothers  have  installed  an 
elevator  communicating  with  the  upper  floors,  as  well  as  tas 
ting  facilities  where  guests  may  familiarize  themselves  with 
the  Christian  Brothers  wines.   The  solid  mahogany  bar, 
gleaming  glassware  and  illuminated  displays  of  wines  bespeak 
the  traditional  hospitality  of  the  valley  vintners. 

Open  the  wrought  iron  gates,  swing  back  the  massive 
doors  to  the  cellar,  and  there  is  revealed  row  on  row  of  oak 
casks  extending  down  the  two  hundred  foot  length  of  the  north 
wing  of  the  building.  Bach  cask  is  approximately  two  thousand 
gallons  in  capacity.   All  made  of  imported  European  white 


-4- 


127 


oak,  they  are  part  of  the  original  equipment,  of  the  winery. 
These  were  coopered  on  the  premises  while  the  building  was 
under  construction,  and  they  represent  the  finest  and  largest 
collection  of  oak  casks  in  the  country  today. 

In  the  opposite  direction  from  the  lounge  a  similar 
array  of  cooperage  extends  the  full  length  of  the  building's 
south  wing.  These  are  upright  redwood  tanks,  each  of 
'five  thousand  gallons  capacity. 

Glancing  upward,  one  cannot  escape  taking  special  notice 
of  the  ceiling.  Throughout  the  length  of  the  building  this 
consists  of  a  series  of  concrete  arches,  each  poured  individ 
ually  with  a  maximum  thickness  of  twenty-six  inches,  tapering 
to  eight  inches  at  the  crown.  The  base  of  each  arch  contains 
three  one-and-one  fourth  inch  twisted  steel  reinforcement  rods 
extending  the  width  of  the  building  and  tying  the  structure 
together  laterally.  The  crowns  are  similarly  reinforced. 
The  span  is  supported  on  twenty-four  foot  centers  by  eight 
inch  steel  columns.  This  (Ransom's  Patent)  method  of  ceiling 
construction  was  the  latest  design  in  industrial  construc 
tion  seventy-five  years  ago,  and  is  believed  to  be  the  first 
of  this  type  in  the  west. 

To  the  rear,  and  outside  the  west  wall  of  the  building 
proper,  is  a  fourteen  foot  covered  alleyway  extending  the 
full  length  of  the  structure  and  opening  to  the  end  areas. 
This,  too,  is  filled  with  oak  cooperage;  casks  ranging  from 
three  thousand  to  four  thousand  gallons  in  capacity.   Orig- 


-5- 


• 


128 


inally  this  passage  gave  access  to  a  series  of  tunnels, 
thirteen  .in  number,. cut .into  the  limestone  formation  of  the 
hillside.   Each  tunnel  was  eleven  feet  high,  sixteen  feet 
wide  and  two  hundred-fifty  feet  in  length.   It  has  been  said 
that  in. constructing  the  tunnels  considerable  blasting  was 
done,  cracking  the -roof -"of-  the  limestone  strata  aTRT  causing 
excessive  seepage  and  falling  rock  during  wet  weather.  Hence, 
« '•in -more  recent  years  moat  of -the  tunnels  have  be«*vTsealed  of  £* 
and  are  no  longer  accessible. 

The  second  floor  is  a  duplication  of  the  first,  with 
respect  to  the  type  and  arrangement  of  cooperage.  On  these 
two  levels,  casks 'and  tanks  total  one  million  eight-hundred 
thousand  gallons  in  capacity.  Here  the  ceiling  of  the  center 
section  has  been  beautifully  paneled  and  lighting  fixtures  of 
19th  century  design  are  suspended.  Several  old  hand  presses 
and  a  crusher  dating  back  to  the  turn  of  the  century  are 
displayed  in  this  area.  Here,  too,  contained  in  glass  cases, 
is  a  very  interesting  collection  of  corkscrews  assembled  by 
Brother  Timothy.  Various  design  features  and  leverage  principles 
are  to  be  seen.  The  United  States  and  many  foreign  countries 
are  represented.   Just  off  this  area  is  a  modern  laboratory 
in  which  samples  of  each  lot  of  wine  are  analyzed  to  keep  a 
watchful  eye  on  quality. 

The  third  floor,  where  originally  were  located  the 
fermenting  tanks,  is  today  given  over  entirely  to  champagne 
production.  Gleaming  stainless  steel  Charmat  process  pressure 


-6- 


129 


tanks  used  for  the  fermentation  of  champagne  dominate  the 
scene.   Here,  too,  the  ceiling  of  the  center  section  of  the 
building  has  been  paneled  in  mahogany.   On  the  transverse 
walls  are  three  colored  aerial  photographs,  each  measuring 
ten  by  twelve  feet,  showing  Greystone,  Mont  La  Salle  and 
Mount  -Tivy  Winery,  near  Reedley.  -A  fourth  frame  presents  a 
montage  of  the  nine  Christian  Brothers  high  schools  in  Cali- 
-  .M...fornia,.-plus  Mont  .La  Sail  e  and  St.  Mary 'a.  College*.,,  The—  . 
smaller  frames  show  La  Salle  High  School  in  Pasadena, and  St. 

La  Salle  primary  school  at  Reedley,  both  built  by  the 

. 
Christian  Brothers.  ri-in 

The  pictures  of  the  Christian  Brothers'  schools  are  very 
appropriately  -shown  in  this  location,  inasmuch  as  revenue  for 
their  support  is  derived  principally  from  the  Brothers  wine 
and  brandy  making  activities. 

,  __  .  But  now,  returning  .to  the- history  of  the  winery.  The 

optimism  attending  its  planning  and  construction  seemed 
justified.  The  operation  was  a  success,  or  so  it  seemed  for 
a  few  years.  However,  already  the  dreaded  phylloxera  was 
creeping  into  the  vineyards  of  Napa  Valley.   By  1894  the 
damage  to  vineyards  was  so  extensive  that  no  surplus  wine 
existed  to  cause  a  marketing  problem.  In  that  year  Mr.  Bourn 
sold  the  winery  to  Mr.  Charles  Carpy.   Shortly  thereafter 
Mr.  Carpy,  as  one  of  the  charter  members  of  the  California 
Wine  Association,  deeded  the  property  to  that  organization. 
During  the  next  fifty  years  the  ownership  of  Greystone  changed 


-7- 


130 


no  less  than  six  times.   Built  for  the  production  of  select 
wines,  the  winery  proved  too  vast  an  operation  for  most  private 
wine  producers.   Conversely,  the  compact  arrangement  of  the 
plant  and  the  fine  oak  cooperage  did  not  lend  itself  to 
efficient  operation  in  production  of  competitive,  or  low- 
priced,  -wines..  In  short,  Or aystoney  through  the  years,  became  .,,•*..., 
a  "white  elephant".  Maintenance  lagged.   It  is  said  that  some 
=*rr. -i  -of  the  fine  oak  cooperage  was  taken  .out  and  replaced  with 

wood  and  that  some  fell  apart  from  neglect  during  the 
-  Prohibition  era.   In  1932  this  property  (whose  original  con 
struction  -cost  .in  1888  was  $400,000)  sold  at  auction  for  $10,000^  . 

In  1942,  Grey  a  tone  .was  purchased  by  the  Schenley  ^.i 

Industries,  Inc.,  owner  of  Cresta  Blanca  Wine  Company  and 
^Roma-Wine  Company .  .^In  4945  the  Christian  Brothers-  commenced  *-  -•»•«  «•; 
.  -leasing  space  in  the  cellars,  and  .by  1950  had  nearly  one  mil- 
lion  gallons  of  wine  atored  there.  In  April,  1950,..  the 
Christian  Brothers  purchased  Greystone  outright,  together  with 
all  cooperage  and  equipment. 

A  vigorous  program  of  rehabiliation  and  modernization 
was  then  instituted.  This  included  an  entire  new  roof, 
extensive  paving,  and,  in  1955,  complete  facilities  for  the 
production  of  champagne  and  other  sparkling  wines.  The  lounge 
and  tasting  bar  were  added,  together  with  a  ninety  car  parking 
lot  for  the  accommodation  of  the  thousands  of  guests  visiting 
the  winery  each  month. 

Today  Greystone,  majestically  overlooking  the  Napa  Valley, 
stands  as  a  monument  to  past,  present  and  future  high  quality  wines. 

-8- 
Rev.  5-11-73/praw 


131 


APPENDIX  IV 


THE  NAPA  VALLEY 

by 

Carl  Wehr 


Napa  Valley,  heart  of  the  northcoast  premium  wine 
production  area,  is  as  yet  relatively  uninfluenced  by  the 
metropolitan  atmosphere.   Nestled  in  the  coast  range  some 
seventy  miles  north  of  San  Francisco,  the  valley  presents 
an  air  of  scenic  beauty.   Comparatively  small,  it  extends 
from  the  tide  waters  of  San  Pablo  bay  northward  to  the 
foothills  of  Mount  St.  Helena. 

The  first  white  settlers  arrived  in  the  valley  about 
1825,  but  no  appreciable  growth  in  the  population  took  place 
until  early  in  the  1840 's.  With  the  arrival  of  many  emigrant 
families,  considerable  agricultural  development  took  place, 
principally  in  grain  and  livestock  fanning.   The  Old  Bale 
Mill,  three  miles  north  of  St.  Helena,  was  built  in  1846. 
The  town  of  St.  Helena  was  founded  in  1854,  followed  by 
Calistoga  (formerly  known  as  Hot  Springs)  in  1859.  A  rail 
road  serving  the  valley  was  completed  in  1868 

The  story  of  Napa  Valley  is  closely  allied  with  the 
development  of  the  wine  industry  in  this  region.   Viticulture 
on  a  commercial  basis  dates  back  some  one  hundred  years. 
Although  highly  successful  in  California,  the  growing  of  the 

-1- 


132 


vitis  vinifera  species  of  grapes  in  other  regions  of  the 
United  States  met -with  repeated  failure.   Indeed,  -from 
beginning  of  colonial  times,  shortly  after  the  settlement  of 
Jamestown,  numerous  attempts  were  made  by  the  wine  growing 
interests  of  the  Old  World  to  establish  vineyards  oh  the 
eastern  seaboard.   In  the  latter  part  of  the  18th  century, 
the  Franciscan  Fathers,  migrating  north  from  Mexico,  planted 
vines  near  their  missions.  With  the  success  of  these  plant 
ings  came  the  discovery  that  here  in  California  were  soil  and 
climatic  conditions  rivaling  those  of  the  famous  wine  grow 
ing  regions  of  Europe. 

In  Napa  Valley  the  first  vineyards  were  planted  in  the 
1850's.   In  1861  Colonel  Agoston  Haraszthy,  often  called  the 
father  of  California  viticulture,  headed  a  commission 
appointed  by  Governor  John  Downey  to  study  wzn*  growing  in 
Europe  as  the  means  of  developing  the  potential  of  the 
industry  in  California.   This  commission  returned  with  many 
thousands  of  cuttings  numbering  several  hundred  varieties, 
collected  from  all  the  principal  wine  growing  ragions  of 
Europe  and  the  Middle  East. 

So  successfully  did  the  vines  thrive,  and  so  high  was 
the  quality  of  the  wines  made  from  the  grapes,  that  it  soon 
became  apparent  that  the  Napa  Valley  had  the  soil  and 
climatic  conditions  required  to  produce  wines  comparable  to 
those  of  Europe.   As  a  result  the  plantings  reached  a  total 
of  eleven  thousand  acres  in  1880. 


-2- 


133 

But  all  was  not  well  in  this  seeming  paradise.   Creep 
ing  into  the  valley  was  the  scourge,  phylloxera.   This 
insect  pest,  sometimes  called  a  root  louse,  was  first 
identified  in  the  vineyards  of  France  about  1858.   Inves 
tigation  revealed  that  the  origin  of  this  insect  was  on 
American  soil,  where  the  pest  fed  on  the  roots  of  the  wild 
American  grape  vine.   Inadvertently  introduced  to  the 
European  vineyards,  it  attacked  the  roots  of  the  vitis 
vinifera  species  of  grapes.   Its  devastating  affect  was  not 
realized  until  whole  vineyards  commenced  dying  off.   By'        s 
importing  infected  vines  from  Europe  to  California,  the  bug 
was  transferred  to  our  local  vineyards. 

•  ' 

With  thousands  of  acres  of  producing  vineyards  in  the 
valley,  phylloxera  made  its  sudden  and  devastating  appearance 
about  1890.   Within  a  short  period  of  time  practically  all 
the  vineyards,  not  only  in  Northern  California,  but  in  the 
temperate  climatic  regions  of  Europe,  were  laid  waste.  A 
vigorous  program  of  research  to  conquer  phylloxera  was 
instituted  by  the  California  State  Agriculture  Department 
and  the  University  of  California,  together  with  federal 
agencies  and  bureaus  of  foreign  governments.   It  was  determined 
that  the  root  of  the  wild  American  grape  was  resistant  to 
the  phylloxera;  and,  furthermore,  that  the  vitis  vinifera 
species  of  vine  could  be  successfully  grafted  to  the  wild 
grape  root  stock.  A  program  of  replanting  and  grafting  was 
instituted,  and  the  success  of  this  practice  is  attested  to 


—3— 


134 


today  by  the  fact  that  most  vineyards  in  temperate  climates 
throughout  the  world  are  growing  on  the  root  stock  of  the 
wild  American  grape.   However,  with  respect  to  Napa  Valley, 
the  era  of  phylloxera  resulted  in  large  acreages  being 
returned  to  pasture  land,  or  planted  to  prunes  and  walnuts. 

Another  serious  setback  in  wine  growing  in  California, 
which,  in  many  respects  was  as  damaging  to  the  economy,  was 
the  era  of  Prohibition.  Vineyards  were  torn  out,  wineries 
closed  down  and  went  bankrupt,  fine  old  cooperage  —  irre 
placeable  --  was  allowed  to  dry  out  and  collapse;  the 
science  of  enology  was  neglected  with  the  resultant  loss  to 
the  industry  of  a  generation  of  winemakers.  The  most 
detrimental  effect  by  far  was  the  loss  of  a  generation  of 
wine  users  and  their  appreciation  of  fine  table  wines. 
Years  of  persistent  effort  on  the  part  of  the  California  Wine 
Advisory  Board,  the  Wine  Institute,  independent  wine  growers 
and  distributors,  ara  today  restoring  the  fine  wines  of 
California  to  their  proper  place  in  the  diet  and  social 
consciousness  of  the  .American  people. 

Once  again  fine  wines,  their  growing  and  production, 
have  become  a  vital  force  in  the  life  and  economy  of  the 
Napa  Valley. 

U  II  II  ' 

TiJJtT 


Rev.    5-7-73/pmw 


-4- 


APPENDIX  V 

135 


PRAYERS 

HARVEST  LUNCHEON  PRAYER 
by 

Brother  Timothy,  P.S.C. 

Cellarmaster 
The  Christian  Brothers  Winery 

October  23,  1969  !• 


O,  great  Go4 -Of^JJje,  jiniyerse,  who  created  stare,  .mpoxv 
sun  and  planets/  and  set  them  on  their  immense  but  precise    . 
paths.  You  are  the  same  God  who  created  the  microscopic 
yeast  cells  and  placed  them  on  the  skins  of  ripening  grapes, 
so  that,  when  crushed,  the  sweet  grape  juice  comes  in  con 
tact  with  these  living  yeast  cells  and  they  f emrent  the 
grape  sugars  into  grape  alcohol,  changing  what  was  grape 
juice  into  wine. 

We  ask  You,  O  God,  to  bless  us  and  to  bless  the  fine 
foods  and  wines  that  you  have  made  available  to  us,  and  which 
we  are  about  to  share  with  each  other.  Amen. 


Grape  Storaper's  Grace 

Bless  this  bread  and  wine  0  Lord  and  all  of  us  who  eat 
and  drink  together. 


136 


BLESSING 

O  Great  God,  Creator  of  a  Universe  so  immense  that  our  most 
brilliant  scientists,  capable  of  sending  men  to  the  moon  and 
bringing  them  back  home  again,  are  unable  to  measure  its 
extent,  You  are  the  same  God  who  made  the  microscopic  yeast 
cells  that  convert  grape  juice  into  wine.   Benjamin  Franklin, 
while  wondering  about  the  mysterious  process  of  fermentation, 

once  said: 

"Wine  . . .  a  constant  proof  that  God 

loves  us  and  loves  to  see  us  happy. " 

We  ask  you  O  God  to  bless  us  and  the  foods  and  wines  we  are 
about  to  enjoy. 

•fHHf 

IT  IT™ 


THANKSGIVING 

In  your  solicitude  for  us,  O  God,  you  have  made  it  possible 
for  farmers,  fishermen  and  others  to  bring  to  our  dining  tables 
a  perennial  supply  of  foods  and  beverages.   The  miracle  of  the 
loaves  and  fishes  is  repeated  every  day.   We  thank  Thee,  O 
God,  for  this  bounty  and  ask  you  to  look  with  love  on  farmers, 
fishermen  and  all  of  us. 

### 


137 


INDEX  --  Brother  Timothy 

(Appendices  are  not  indexed  in  detail) 


advertising,  41 

Alemany,  Joseph  Sadoc (Archbishop) , 
Allegretti,  Joseph,   66,  67,  68 
altar  wines.   See  sacramental  wines. 
Amerine,  Maynard  A.,   7 
Archinal,  Herman  L.,   48 
Assumption  Abbey  winery,   73 
Azarie,  Brother,   4 


Bailey,  C.E.,   45 

Bank  of  America,   54,  55 

Basil,  Brother,  4 

Bechtel  and  Company,  45 

beers,   49 

Benkiser,  August,   11,  63 

Benkiser,  Justus,   63 

Beringer  Brothers,   42 

Biane,  Philo,   16,  73 

Bisceglia  Brothers  winery,   49,  53,  54 

Boone,  Mrs.  Elsa  [Gier] ,   10 

Botsford  Ketchum,  41 

Bourn,  William,   52 

brandy,   22,  25,  27,  41-44,  49,  50,  72,  73,  88 

Brandy  Advisory  Board  ,   5*0 

Brotherhood  winery,   73 

Brothers  of  the  Christian  Schools,   12 

Bush,    ,   13-14 


California  Wine  Association,   53,  57,  59-60 

Carpy,  C.A.,   52,  53 

Carpy,  Charles,   52,  53 

cartons,   82 

Cathedral  High  School,  Los  Angeles,   16 

Cecilian,  Brother,   4,  5 

Central  California  Wineries ,  Inc.,  54,  55 

Charles  Henry,  Brother,   1 

Charmat  process,   66-69 

Chinese  coolies,   52 

Christian  Brothers  label,  38 

Christian  Brothers  order,  passim 

Christian  Brothers  High  School,  Sacramento,   18 


138 


Christian  Brothers  Wine  and  Champagne  Cellar,   51,  55,  Appendix  III 

closures.   See:   corks  and  screw  caps 

cooperage,   24 

corks,   82,  91-92,  93 

corkscrews,   94-102,  103-104 

Cresta  Blanca  Plant  #2,   50,  55 

Cresta  Blanca  winery,  Livermore,   59-60,  61 

Cresta  Blanca  label,   60 

Critchfield,  Burke  H.,   55 

Cruess,  William  V.,   33,  35 


De  La  Salle  Institute,   5,  6,  8,  22 

de  la  Salle,  Jean  Baptiste  [St.],   1,  2,  12,  22 

Depression,  The  10,  14,  24,  27,  86 

dessert  wines,   7,  8,  38,  70,  71,  91 

Diener,  Al,   15 

Diener,  Anthony  George  (Brother  Timothy),   15,  17 

Diener  family,   15,  16,  18,  19-20 


Elk  Park  Ranch,   63 


Federspiel,  Sophus,   65 

Forni,  Carlo  and  Alfred,  46 

Forni,  Charles,  vineyards,  45 

Franciscan  order,   1 

Franklin,  Benjamin,   76,  78 

Frederick,  Brother,   16,  50 

Fresno  State  College,  37 

Fromm,  Alfred,   23,  25,  26,  27,  38,  39,  40,  41,  42,  42,  77 

Fromm,  Norman,   102 

Fromm  &  Sichel,  25,  26,  27,  38,  39,  40,  41,  47,  74,  77,  102 

Fruit  Industries  [Ltd.],  42,  53 


General  Viticulture.  70 

Gier,  Amelie,   10 

Gier,  Theodore,   10,  11,  24,  25,  28,  29,  57-66,  70 

Golan  and  Lango  (label),   54 

Golan,  Louis,   54 

grape  concentrate,   88 

"Grape  Stompers'  Grace,"  78 

Gregory,  Brother,   16,  17,  18,  50 

Gregory,  Brother  (Provincial),   18,  19 

Greystone  Cellars,  50,  51,  52,  54,  55,  57,  62,  66,  82,  83,  101, 

Appendix  II,  Appendix  III 
Guild  Wine  Company,   60 


139 


Hercules  filter,   68 
Hilgardia.   70 
Hoffman,  John,   46 

Hoffman,  Stanley  S.   See  John,  Brother 

Howe,  Ed,   99 

Howe,  Jim,   99-101 

Hoyt,  Frances  C. ,   45 

Hoyt  ranch,   45 

Hudemann,   Herman,      28,    29,   30-31 


Italian  Swiss  Colony,   67 


Jesuit  order,   1,  73 

John,  Brother,  25-26,  33,  35,  36,  38,  40,  43,  44,  46,  69 

Jordan,  Rudolf,  28,  29,  30,  33 

Jordan,  Rudolf,  Jr.,  28,  30,  31,  32-33 

Joslyn,  Maynard ,   7 


Keith  and  Associates,  Santa  Rosa,  46 
kosher  wines ,   7 
Krug,  Charles,  52 


labels,  23,  41 

Landor,  Walter,  41 

La  Salle  Products,  Inc.,   9,  22 

"Lotus  Farm,"  30 

Lotus  Vineyard.  Napa  County.  California.  1893  (album) ,   28 


Martinez  novitiate,  3,  5,  6,  8,  11,  13,  14,  18,  20,  25,  35 

Masson,  Paul,  winery,  74,  90 

Mattei,  A.  &  Sons,  42 

medicinal  wines,  6,  8,  39 

Merchants  Exchange  of  Oakland,  64 

Meyer,  Justin  (formerly  Brother  Justin),  5-6,  Appendix  I 

Mittleberger,  Ernest,   103 

Mont  La  Salle,  10,  12,  13,  18,  20,  21,  23,  24,  28,  29,  38,  45,  47,  58, 

62,  65,  79,  81,  83 
Mont  La  Salle  label,  38 
Mont  La  Salle  Vineyards,   12,  16,  22,  23 
Montelindo  Recuerdo  Vintage  (wine  label) ,   30 
Morrow,  A.R.  (label),  42 

"Mount"  La  Salle  (label),  23.  See  also  Mont  La  Salle 
Mount  Tivy  Winery,  43,  45,  46,  47,  48-49,  90 
Muir son  Label  [company],  41 


140 


Niehoff,  Walter,  41 
Novitiate  winery,   73 


Oakland  Inquirer.   65 

Olmo,  Harold  P. ,   70 

0-Neh-Da  winery,  Conesus,  New  York,   73 


pasteurization,   54-55 
Peralta  Winery,  49 

Picker-Linz  Importers,  Inc.,   23,  25,  27,  38,  47 

Pirio,  Auguste,   66 

Powers,  Lucius,   46 

Prayers,  Grace  and  Thanksgiving,  77-79,  Appendix  V 

prices,   87-90 

Principles  and  Practices  of  Wine  Making.  33 

Prohibition,  6,  8,  9.  10,  11,  14,  15,  18,  19,  20,  21,  22,  24,  27,  34,  51, 

54,  57,  58,  61,  62,  64 
propylene  glycol  solution,   69 
prorate,   41 
Publicker  Industries,   88-89 


raisins,   86 

Raphael,  Brother,   14,  25,  35,  36,  40 

Repeal,   15,  21,  33,  40,  53,  54 

Roesch,  Louis  Company,   30 

Roosevelt,  Franklin,   15,  21 

Rosenthal,  Phil,  .  45 

Ruby  Hill  vineyard,   60 


sacramental  wines,  6,  7,  8,  21,  39 

St.  Helena  Star.  56 

St.  Mary's  College,   2,  3,  18,  19,  20,  25 

St.  Mary's  High  School,  Oakland,   16,  18 

St.  Mary's  residence  school,  Mont  La  Salle,  47 

St.  Timothy,   75 

Salesian  order,   1 

Schenley,   55,  60 

Schiefelbein,  Hubert.   See  Gregory,  Brother 

Schools,  Christian  Brothers,   1-3 

Scott,  Richard  W.,   45 

screw  caps,   91-92 

Seagrams,  46,  47,  48,  74 

Sequoia  Vineyard ,   58,  64 


141 


Sempervirens  (poem),   32-33 

set-aside,      41,    88-89 

Setrakian,  Arpaxat  ("Sox"),   88 

Sichel,  Franz,   103 

Smith,  Al,   15,  21 

Sommer,  Frank,   20 

Sommer,  Mrs.   Frank,   20 

South  St.  Helena  winery,   45,  46,  51,  79-83,  87 

"Spout  Farm,"  30 

Stamps,  commemorative,   12 

Sunny  St.  Helena  Winery,  46 


table  wines,   8,  38,  70,  91 

tanks,  wine,  44,  45,  59 

tax,  brandy,  42 

Taylor,  Stanley,  Company,   62 

Tedeschi,  Gus ,   67 

Trepp,  Leo,   7 


Ulfinian,  Brother,   14 

United  Farm  Workers  Union,   72 

University  of  California,  36,  37 

University  of  California,  Berkeley,  33 

University  of  California,  Davis,   13,  37,  75 


Vasconi,  Joe,  99 
Victorick,  Brother,   4 
vintage  dating,  85 
vodka,   48 


Wehr,  Carl,  52,  55-56 

Wehr,  Mrs.  Carl,  56 

Wente,  Ernest,   101 

Wente,  Herman,   101 

Wine  Museum,  San  Francisco,   102-103 

Wheeler,  William,  45 

whiskeys,  49-50 

White,  Rose,  45 

Wine  Advisory  Board,   50,  74-75 

Wine  Institute,   50,  74-75,  94,  95,  96 

Wine  Institute  technical  advisory  committee,   36,  75 

Wine  Review.   94 

Winkler,  A.[lbert],  J.,   70 


142 


Woerner,  David,   61 
Wurz,  Louis,   45 


yeast  culture,   36 


Wines  Mentioned  in  the  Interview 


burgundy,   23,  65 
Cabernet  sauvignon,  85 
champagne,   51,  66-69,  83,  93 
Chateau  La  Salle,  22,  69-70 
Chenin  blanc,   71 
MelosoCream  Sherry,   71 
muscatel,   39 
Pineau  de  la  Loire,   70-71 
Pinot  St.  George,   70 
port,   38-39,  71 
sherry,   38-39,  71 
Tinta  Cream  Port,   71 


Grape  Varieties  Mentioned  in  the  Interview 


Alicante  Ganzin,   10-11 
Cabernet  Sauvignon,   10 
Chenin  blanc,   71 
Franken  Riesling,   10 
Johannisberg  Riesling,   10 
"Petit  Pinot,"  70 
Pineau  de  la  Loire,   71 
Pinot  Noir,   70 
Pinot  St.  George,   10,  70 
Sylvaner  Riesling,   10 
Thompson  Seedless,   72,  88,  89 


Ruth  Teiser 

Born  in  Portland,  Oregon;  came  to  the  Bay 
Area  in  1932  and  has  lived  here  ever  since. 
Stanford  University,  B.A. ,  M.A.  in  English; 
further  graduate  work  in  Western  history. 
Newspaper  and  magazine  writer  in  San  Francisco 
since  19^3,  writing  on  local  history  and  busi 
ness  and  social  life  of  the  Bay  Area. 
Book  reviewer  for  the  San  Francisco  Chronicle, 


o  o